Sauna vs. cardio is a hotly debated topic among fitness buffs and medical professionals, as each method has its benefits and drawbacks. For those looking to get fit or improve their wellness, knowing the differences between these two activities can help them decide which one is right for them. In general, sauna use can provide the same benefits as regular exercises, such as improved circulation and reduced stress levels, but without the physical intensity associated with aerobics. Cardio on the other hand provides more of a calorie-burning workout and helps improve stamina, endurance, strength, and overall health.
When choosing between sauna vs. cardio for better health outcomes, it’s important to identify your goals first and then tailor an approach that fits your lifestyle and needs best. Consider factors such as the level of activity you’re hoping to achieve, any existing health issues you may have, what measures you already take to stay in shape or look after your heart health, and how much equipment/space you have available or are willing to invest in, etc. Ultimately though, whatever your decision is, both sauna use and cardio offer potential health benefits – so why not focus on both?
Benefits of Sauna
Saunas have been used for thousands of years for relaxation and detoxification. Modern saunas are easy to get the same benefits with science backing up the claims. This section will discuss the benefits of saunas compared to traditional cardio exercises. From weight loss to blood pressure, there are plenty of reasons to try the sauna.
In addition to helping you relax and reach a state of peacefulness, sauna use has many physical benefits. One such benefit is that of detoxification. The high temperatures in saunas help draw out impurities from the body by stimulating perspiration or sweating. This releases toxins that have built up in the tissue, leaving your body feeling invigorated and refreshed afterward. As an added bonus, encouraging detoxification helps keep your skin looking healthy and revitalized. Compared to traditional aerobic exercise, sauna use leaves you feeling cleaner and more energized without putting strain on your muscles or joints.
When you enter a sauna, your body temperature increases, and your heart rate increases; this causes your blood vessels to dilate, increasing circulation and widening the oxygen-carrying capillaries and veins. As the heart rate rises in response to the heat, more oxygen is carried throughout the body. The veins near the skin will expand further, allowing blood and oxygen to circulate more quickly through those areas. This increased circulation can help reduce inflammation, improve energy levels and support overall health.
Regular environmental heat exposure has been found to be effective for vasodilation and boosting insulin sensitivity in adults with metabolic syndrome – a condition that increases your risk for type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease – and improves vascular health in people with hypertension. Sauna use has also been associated with the following benefits:
- improved vascular health among women who take part in regular aerobic exercise,
- better cognitive performance after episodic heavy drinking in young men,
- lower stress levels among office workers,
- relief from mild depression in post-menopausal women,
- faster recovery times for athletes after training sessions at high altitudes,
- improved pulmonary function for children between 5-17 years of age with asthma or allergic rhinitis (inflammation of the nose due to allergies),
- reduced pain intensity among individuals reporting moderate joint pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA),
- as well as a decreased risk of stroke or mortality due to cardiovascular disease in men aged 44-75.
Relaxing in a sauna can have some impressive benefits beyond just relaxing. This heat therapy can help soothe sore, tired muscles and improve circulation. For example, many athletes find that using a sauna can help relieve muscle tension caused by strenuous activities or workouts. Additionally, studies suggest that it may improve sleep quality for those with insomnia or difficulty falling asleep.
The heat from the sauna stimulates blood flow circulation and opens up airways for a deeper breath that delivers calming effects upon both body and mind. This relaxation could potentially aid in stress relief as your body’s cortisol levels are significantly reduced after some time spent in the sauna. In addition, the hot temperature helps muscles relax. At the same time, the humidity provides moisture which helps ease chronic respiratory problems like light asthma and chronic bronchitis by allowing more flexible chest walls and muscles during an activity of daily living routine activities.
The experience is not only beneficial physically, but mentally as well. People experience decreased anxiety, increased mental clarity, and heightened awareness when they regularly enjoy time in a sauna, as they can relax into a meditative state while encouraging their body’s natural detoxification processes to occur at an accelerated rate due to increased sweating.
Benefits of Cardio
Cardio is a type of exercise that helps to improve your cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, and overall health. Cardio activities such as running, jogging, swimming, cycling, and walking have many benefits, including improved heart health, increased metabolism, and weight loss. Cardio also provides a low-impact exercise, making it safer for those with joint problems or other injuries. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of cardio and compare them to the benefits of saunas.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
For anyone looking to improve their cardiovascular health, some type of regular workout involving elevated heart rates is essential. While numerous types of physical conditioning can raise your heart rate, cardio — or aerobic exercise — stands out as the most popular.
Cardio includes any exercise that causes you to generate steady energy over an extended period and involves repeating a set of movements at a consistently moderate intensity. This makes it easily accessible for people from all levels of physical fitness and poses a relatively low injury risk. Common examples include running, biking, swimming, and dancing — all activities that require sustained effort for extended periods.
The benefits of regular cardio exercise include increased muscle mass, better sleep quality, and improved mental health, among many others. On the cardiovascular front, benefits such as lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and increased cardiovascular endurance are common results along with significant reductions in risk factors associated with diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. In addition, regular cardio can also reduce high blood pressure while increasing the overall metabolic rate, which is beneficial in maintaining a healthy body weight.
Increased metabolism is one of the key benefits of doing cardio exercise. This means that your body burns more calories and fat, resulting in weight loss and improved health from improved metabolism. In addition, studies have shown that a regular regimen of moderate-intensity cardio exercise will increase your resting metabolic rate for up to 60 hours after the workout is complete.
The duration, intensity, and frequency of aerobic workouts affect how much your metabolism will be increased. Moderate-intensity exercise lasting 20 minutes or more increases metabolic rate significantly more than either longer or shorter exercises. In contrast, high-intensity aerobic exercise boosts metabolism slightly further than moderate-intensity workouts. However, high-intensity exercise can be much more strenuous and should only be attempted by individuals who are physically fit enough to do so.
In addition to increased metabolism from cardio activities like jogging, cycling, or dancing, studies show that regular use of heat-based saunas can also burn extra calories and have other cardiovascular health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol levels and improving circulation. In addition, sweating in a sauna for 15 to 20 minutes before or after a workout has been found to further increase endurance during the workout and boost metabolism even further than cardiovascular activity alone. So if you’re looking for that extra edge to help you lose weight, consider adding some cardio activities with a visit to the sauna!
Improved Lung Capacity
Cardiovascular exercise helps improve the health of your lungs and increases their capacity for air intake. Regular exercise can make your body more efficient in delivering oxygen to all cells, which can benefit everything from endurance to speed. Improved lung capacity also significantly reduces your risk of lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses.
Saunas offer the same respiratory benefits as regular cardio but with a different method: allowing hot air to enter your lungs for a brief time during each session. The dry heat forces you to take deeper breaths, meaning oxygen-rich air has a better chance of reaching all parts of the lungs that are not typically accessible while breathing normally. Moreover, saunas can help improve blood circulation throughout the body, further improving lung capacity.
It can be hard to decide between sauna and cardio to get fit and healthy. Both have their own health benefits, and it often comes down to personal preference when deciding which is best for you. In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of saunas and cardio and how they compare.
The calorie-burning benefits of a sauna versus cardio exercise depend on the intensity and duration of the activity. For example, a study has found that 1 hour in a sauna can burn anywhere from 200–600 calories, depending on temperature and humidity, while 30 minutes of running can burn up to 300 calories.
Generally, someone looking to lose weight will benefit more from exercising rather than using the sauna alone; however, using the sauna in combination with exercise may lead to faster results. The high temperatures in a sauna can create an environment that encourages better sweating, which helps speed up metabolism and eliminate toxins from your body. Additionally, exercising in a sauna before or after your workout can improve circulation and nerve functioning, leading to greater recovery benefits overall.
Exercising in a sauna or engaging in cardiovascular exercise offer stress reduction benefits, but they differ in how they do it. Saunas are heated rooms usually made of wood and insulated with glass windows, while cardiovascular exercise involves engaging major muscle groups repeatedly to cause a rapid heart rate.
Saunas can reduce stress through deep relaxation by providing a physical and mental distraction from the causes of stress, often resulting in improved sleep quality. The heat of the sauna raises body temperature and causes sweating, which helps improve circulation and promotes the relaxation of muscles for improved mental clarity. Additionally, the heat opens up respiratory passages to increase oxygen intake.
A cardiovascular exercise is an effective tool for reducing stress because it releases endorphin hormones throughout the body that energize the mind and relax the muscles. Because cardiovascular activities often require concentration on movements and breathing techniques, so they become powerful sources of distraction from daily stresses, improving both mental and physical well-being. As you get fit through regular aerobic exercise, your body becomes stronger and better able to adapt to everyday stressors.
In order to get beneficial results from sauna vs cardio, the time commitment to either regimen depends on the user’s particular fitness goals and objectives. For example, those wanting to improve cardiovascular performance and lose weight may find cardiovascular exercise such as running, biking, or swimming more beneficial than using a sauna. Cardiovascular activities are typically done for longer, usually 30 minutes or more.
For those looking to relax and detoxify their bodies, a session in a sauna may be in order. While it is certainly possible to sweat up a storm in a sauna while getting health benefits simultaneously, it is not recommended to stay in too long as this can cause dehydration or even heat stroke. The ideal duration for most saunas ranges between 10–20 minutes, although some go up to 40 minutes, depending on the type of sauna used.
The answer to the age-old debate of sauna vs. cardio depends on your individual needs and goals. For cardiovascular health, aerobic exercise stimulates your circulatory system and can help lower blood pressure, boost energy levels and reduce stress hormones. Saunas can also be beneficial as they promote relaxation, help relieve stress and tension, aid muscle recovery, cleanse the skin and burn calories.
Overall, both saunas and cardio have their benefits depending on what you’re looking for in terms of health goals. Each activity is an effective way to reap various positive health benefits while still offering relaxation or stimulation, depending on your chosen activity.