Part of the reason why people don’t exercise as much as they ought to or make more home cooked, healthy meals is that they have a lot more urgent or instantly gratifying things they have to do or would rather do in their day.
This excuse, of course, does not justify a lack of exercise and a poor diet, and in no way does this article encourage you to not exercise or eat unhealthy, but what if I told you that you could improve your heart health by up to 48% by doing nothing but sitting in a sauna?
Heat For Heart Health
That’s right. Sitting in your bath towel and sweating your worries away can significantly improve your heart health, according to a study from the Netherlands Heart Journal. This discovery is a shock to the medical community, where it has long been advised that patients with cardiovascular diseases avoid these particular spa treatments.
Why Sweat The Sauna Stuff?
The sauna has taken some heat for quite some time. A misguided Swedish study performed between 1993 and 2002 linked 77 human deaths to saunas. 44% of these deaths were related to alcohol, while the other 23% were linked to cardiovascular diseases.
In that same year, a Finnish study showed that the annual death rate in saunas was less than two per 100,000 inhabitants and 51% of those cases were natural deaths. Exposure to heat was responsible for 25% of those deaths. 50% of those who died in saunas were under the influence of alcohol.
The frequency of sauna bathing is high in Finland, yet even then, cases involving death in a sauna are extremely rare. More recent studies have shown that saunas can improve cardiac health significantly.
Recent Studies On Heart Health and Saunas
Waon therapy, which is repeated low-temperature sauna visits, has been shown to improve cardiovascular health by improving endothelial function to improve blood circulation.
Sauna bathing is also beneficial for patients with congestive heart failure and chronic heart failure by improving exercise tolerance and reducing the occurrence of ventricular arrhythmias (abnormal rapid heart rhythms.)
A large 2015 study in the issue of JAMA Internal Medicine on cardiovascular effects of sauna bathing found that long, hot sauna baths were associated with fewer deaths from heart attacks, strokes, and various heart related diseases.
How Often Should You Indulge In This Sweaty Activity?
A recent Finnish study found that men who enjoyed a sauna two or three times a week had a 23% lower risk of experiencing a fatal episode of coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease. Men who went to the sauna four to seven times a week had a whopping 48% lower risk of similar incidents compared to men who went only once a week.
Yes, these studies, for some reason, did not include women. However, there is no reason at the moment to suggest that the results would be any different. In general, if you can walk into a sauna, you can walk out of it, and with some pretty amazing heart health benefits too!