Finished your workout now what: Sauna or Jacuzzi?
Sauna and jacuzzi: What to chose after your workout? How they work, all the benefits and what happens to your body when you indulge in the heat
If you’re like many people, you love the feel and the smell of sitting inside a sauna! For others, a Jacuzzi is the very epitome of luxury and relaxation. The two are as different as apples and oranges, but they both have similar benefits and risks. Overall health can be positively and negatively impacted by external factors like extreme heat. When it comes to saunas and Jacuzzis, “Moderation in all things.” So, if after your workout you are undecided on what to go for, here are our tips to help you make an informed decision:
Saunas and Jacuzzis: How They Work
The inside of the sauna may feature wood walls and benches made from white aspen, cedar, hemlock, or spruce. Saunas feature a heat source at an extremely high temperature. Water is splashed over the rocks (or heat source) and evaporates quickly, causing a hot steam to permeate the room. In a dry sauna, the heat source is not splashed with water; it’s a steamless atmosphere.
The mechanics of a Jacuzzi are a bit more complex. The water level in the tub must be higher than the jets and the intake valve. A pump rapidly draws water into the valves while the pump’s motor creates varying degrees of force to expel the water from the jets. Sometimes the pressure can be controlled by a movable ring around the jet.
How Your Body Works in Sauna/Jacuzzi
In the sauna, the body perspires in heat and humidity, and the perspiration evaporates. If there is less difference in the temperature between your body and the environment, it’s more difficult for the perspiration to evaporate, so the heart pumps harder to boost your blood supply, sending hot blood to your muscles and the skin’s surface in an effort to cool it. The blood vessels in the surface dilate, making your skin red. If you are pregnant, ask your doctor before using a sauna.
Just as in a sauna, your body’s ability to perspire effectively is compromised in a Jacuzzi. Pregnant women should consult with their doctor before using a Jacuzzi and not use one at all during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists recommends pregnant women exercise or relax in water no warmer than 32°C. In the book, “8 Weeks to Optimum Health . . .” a minimum of 2-3 sauna sessions per week is recommended to receive maximum health benefits. Patients with arthritis are reported to use a Jacuzzi twice a day to reduce the pain.
After a workout, the swirling, hot water in a Jacuzzi soothes sore, tired muscles and the subsequent relaxation gives you a comfortable feeling of serenity. The surging flow of water pumped from the tub’s jets act as massage therapy, unknotting stressed muscles. When used safely, a Jacuzzi is the perfect way to finish a workout.
- Cool down before entering the Jacuzzi.
- Drink plenty of liquids.
- Spend no more than 15 minutes.
- Water temperature should never exceed 40°C.
The cleansing benefits of sauna is an undeniable advantage. This form of purifying, steady heat is often recommended by physicians. Benefits of sauna can include:
- Improved cardiovascular
- Skin cleansing
- Social interaction
- Stress relief
- Weight loss
To properly use sauna, you should:
- Shower beforehand to remove lotions and to cool down after a workout.
- If you are wearing a bathing suit, make sure there are no zippers or other pieces of metal that could cause burns.
- After 8-10 minutes, take a break. If you feel well enough, re-enter the sauna for another 5-10 minutes.
- Cool-down 5-10 minutes afterwards, so your body won’t be “shocked” by your shower/pool water.
Learn more about enjoying saunas and Turkish baths in the summer and the main differences between a sauna and a Turkish bath.