In the early 2000s, I joined a tennis club that had a great wet sauna, more commonly referred to as, a steam room. This steam room became a ritual for me during a period of my life where I was not able to do any resistance training due to chronic back pain.
When I went back to the gym a few years later, I transitioned from the wet sauna to the dry sauna which helped me with muscle inflammation & soreness as I incorporated resistance training back into my routine.
So what exactly are the differences between a wet & dry sauna and which is the right one for you?
Well, the big difference with a dry sauna is the heat level.
The heat in a dry sauna will typically reach temperatures of 170 – 200 degrees Fahrenheit (76-93 degrees Celsius). When you sit in heat at this level, there are a plethora of health benefits on the body including increased blood circulation with better blood flow to your heart, increased endurance and endorphin release.
This intense heat will also cause your heart to race to a point that you are actually mimicking the effects of a low cardio workout.
Heat stress also activates “heat shock proteins” which prevent cell damage & muscle atrophy, a growing concern with middle-aged individuals.
One of the most striking findings was a 20-year study amongst middle-aged men conducted at The University of Finland that found that frequent sauna users experienced an increase in longevity with a decrease in all-cause mortality.
In summary, wet saunas are more commonly used to detoxify your body & moisten your skin while a dry sauna is more common with relaxation & wellness.
With sauna rooms readily available in most modern gyms & condos, now is a great time to incorporate this experience into your daily fitness regime.
Written by: Adam Weisfeld