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26 Sep 2006

Steam Room vs Sauna - 2 questions
1. What the the pros and cons of both the steam room and sauna?
2. What are the pros and cons of sitting the the steam room / sauna directly after exercise (5km run)?
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Expert
FitnessDoc
fitnessdoc

01 Jan 0001

Hi there

I'll answer both in one go. There is a school of thought that using the steam room helps to improve the circulatory system. There is actually evidence that people with heart conditions should NOT use either the steam or sauna method, and so in a morbid way, that proves that it does do SOMETHING to the cardio system. The issue then is whether the steaming or sauna is better than simply exercising - it basically does the same thing. Without getting too technical, it causes blood flow to the skin to rise, elevates the heart rate, causes sweating etc.

Now, the reason many people use these rooms is to help them lose weight. This is a myth. The only weight that is lost during a session is water - you sweat it off. The problem is that by the time you've eaten supper, you have put that right back in, because it's just water. Obviously, there is a small increase in metabolic rate in the hot room, but it's minor, and so the weight loss thing is just a myth - you are better off running an extra 2 km in 10 minutes than sitting in a room for 10.

Now, the other benefit, and one that I won't question is the perceived one - many people swear by them because they just feel good. I'm a big believer in that, and so I think you should make use of the room if it makes you feel better. If not, then don't bother.

Good luck
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