How Infrared Saunas Benefit Athletes (Both Olympic, Professional, and Amateur!)

Is everyone as excited as I am with these Winter Olympics going on? I get so excited every 4 years when I can see incredible athletes perform unbelievable feats, something I could only dream of doing! And this year is no different (did you see that incredible gold-medal win by Chloe Kim? Anyway, I digress). It’s amazing to me how all of these athletes have to function at such a high level and in order to do that, have to keep in such incredible shape. But did you know that it’s not just fitness that helps these professional and Olympic athletes from being successful? It’s true – infrared saunas are also a huge factor in keeping these athletes in tip-top shape and perform at their highest level!

That is why the highest earning sports stars and Olympians are all investing in infrared saunas. And, if you didn’t already know why, the reason is pretty simple: when you compete aggressively in sports, it heavily strains everything from your tissues and joints to muscles and immune system. Specifically, this far infrared heat increases the flow of both blood and oxygen to every area of your body. Infrared saunas reduces soreness, relaxes and relives tension and stress, and helps the body heal! A quick recovery time is imperative for athletes, and saunas help just that.

There have been a couple important studies that have shown proof of the above claims for athletes: The Effect of Post-Exercise Sauna Bathing on the Endurance Performance of Competitive Male Runners and Heat acclimation responses of an ultra-endurance running group preparing for hot desert-based competition. 

In the “Effect of Post-Exercise” study, sauna bathing was observed on six runners (all male. They all went through periods of training and before they begain, they all did a 15 minute running test to see their exhaustion while running a 5k. They sat in a sauna for 30 minutes, 3x a week right after exercise. At the end of the trial period, athletes were able to increase their time until exhaustion, enhance their endurance, and showed improvements in their blood work.

In the second “Heat Acclimation Responses” study, it was found that athletes who went into infrared saunas had improved tolerance (while exercising). Similar findings were found as the previous study, including increases in plasma volume.

Overall, infrared saunas are great for everyone (as anyone can benefit from those types of improvements in their body.) However, for purposes of this article, if you are athletically inclined, an infrared sauna is an investment that is absolutely worth it for your physical health and longevity of your career (however big or small, professional or amateur!)