A Hot Topic
Ready to turn up the heat? If you haven’t been frequenting your local sauna, it may be time to start. According to researchers, spending time in this hot, dry environment a couple times per week has serious mind and body benefits. First, it’s been suggested that saunas lower rates of cardiovascular disease, improve respiratory function, and boost the immune system. What’s more, this relaxing habit has been linked to reduced stress and improved mood.
If you’ve never been in a sauna, here’s what you need to know: A traditional sauna maintains a temperature ranging from 150° to 212° Fahrenheit. These sweltering temps get the blood pumping while raising your heart rate, similar to exercise. Saunas additionally stimulate heavy sweating as the body’s surface temperature rises to as high as 104° F. Although there are risks for individuals with health issues, saunas have proven safe for healthy individuals to use. Talk to your doctor first to see if you have any potential health risks. Good sauna practices include:
- Allot no more than 15-20 minutes for your sauna session.
- When finished, allow the body to cool down gradually.
- Drink plenty of water after your visit.
- Avoid alcohol before and after your sauna.
Did You Know?
There are an estimated two million saunas in Finland, where “taking saunas” is a popular pastime!
Chances are, you’re already participating in NEAT, or non-exercise activity thermogenesis. NEAT accounts for the energy you expend on everything that’s not eating, sleeping, or planned physical activity (like sports and exercise). Common NEAT activities include yard work, cleaning, cooking, typing, and even fidgeting!
The good news is, all that activity starts to add up – so even when you aren’t at the gym, you’re naturally burning calories and contributing to your overall wellness. Making a conscious effort to increase your NEAT throughout the day will only help in your weight loss efforts. And studies show that NEAT benefits more than your waistline; it also reduces sedentary time, a strong predictor of both cardiovascular disease risk and mortality.
To get more NEAT in your daily routine, try a few of these easy tips!
- Stand more often.
- Park at the back of the lot.
- Pace when talking on the phone.
- Play outside with your kids.
- Take the stairs.
- Wash all of your dishes by hand.
- Dance while you clean.
- Carry your groceries (or use a basket) instead of a shopping cart.