How Long Should I Stay Inside a Sauna?
How Long Should I Stay Inside a Sauna?
Summer is coming and we all feel the urge to start enjoying sun baths, swimming pools, rivers, lakes and the sea. After a long winter and a breezy, changeable spring we feel that we deserve it – some heat and the difference of temperature. But sometimes summers are not what we expect them to be like and we look for other ways to make life more pleasurable. One of them is going to a sauna – a perfect solution for heat and water lovers who want to stay healthy and have a good time. But the same as we do need to know how long we can stay in the sun, we must know how to treat the time in a sauna. So, how long should you stay in sauna?
The recommended time to spend inside a sauna in one session differs whether you are a beginner or a sauna veteran in order for the body not to have a shock after starting to experience temperature changes. For the beginners it is recommended to start their sauna sessions from 10 minutes. Also you need to be prepared to go in and bear in mind that sauna is not a sport but rather a way to relax. So it is important to not stay there too long and take into consideration your personal physical health.
Sometimes when we start something new, we are very enthusiastic and overrate our abilities, we think that we can have it all and we don’t need any precautions, especially when we enjoy it so much that we forget the time. But in such places like sauna time is particularly important because each thing we use can help us to feel better but if it is not used properly, in the same way it might harm us. So here I will shortly put into words what must be known before going into a sauna.
Preparation for the sauna
We might just as well start from the very beginning of this process, that is to say, the preparation. The same like when we start running or playing soccer, we need to warm up before going to a sauna and know what outfit to wear.
The outfit as well can be of Adam and Eve – the way God created us with a small exception – a piece of modern invention on your hips that is to say a towel which usually people take with themselves to saunas to have what to sit on. So depending on your point of view sauna can be a pretty liberating experience if deep down in your heart you are an old hippy who always dreamed to walk naked legally and feel good about it. Usually I go with my bathing suit because I guess that people in public saunas wouldn’t be prepared for a sudden return of the 70’s (unless you have your own personal sauna). But a better tip of how to enter a sauna is not to wear any jewelry because clothes or no clothes is optional and jewelry might get hot and burn your skin.
Also, if you wear glasses of contact lenses you should remove them as well before going to sauna. You can read more about it here: can you go to sauna with contact lenses?
A second tip is not to get yourself stuffed with food before going to sauna. You should wait an hour or two after you had your last meal and of course to not take the food with you (however, when I think of it, if you bring some fresh eggs, you could fairly cook it on the stones of sauna, and if you’re covering yourself just with a towel, feel just like a cave man or a cave woman back in the old good days when everyone was eating a really healthy food and doing sports without intending; that would be a bonus experience included in the price of the spa you are going to. If you don’t feel like it, it is good to know that the heat draws blood to your skin from the internal organs and digesting makes it harder for your body to handle it). Instead of eating, it is healthy to drink a glass or two of water before going into a sauna. The water will help your body to stay hydrated and clean all the toxins. Tip: do not drink any alcohol before or during the sauna sessions! Here is my article talking about dangers of mixing alcohol and sauna.
And the last thing which you can notice people doing when they are about to enter a sauna is to take a shower in order to remove all the bacteria which can reproduce quickly in a high temperature. It is not necessarily to wash your hair (you can do it later), just dry yourself well.
For sauna starters and pros
Eventually when you are all prepared, start the experience.
When it is your first time, you can pick a lower bench where it’s cooler, for you to get used to the heat. For the beginners it is recommended to start their sauna sessions from 10 minutes. 10 minutes is about the right amount of time to feel enough heated but not to stress out the organism when it hasn’t tried being in such heat before. After this session you can take a cool shower, rest and after you feel warm and relaxed (not hot and sweaty), go back to repeat the same thing again for 10 minutes. After the second session have a warm shower and a glass of water. Try to relax. Each time before leaving the sauna room, sit on the lower benches for around 2 minutes to help your circulation to acclimatize to the upright position.
More experienced sauna bathers can increase the time of one session up to 15 minutes. They can start the first session with 10 minutes and finish the last one with 15. It is not recommended to stay in a sauna room longer than 15 minutes for anyone, regardless of their previous experience in saunas. However, the ones who are more used to it and have a healthy blood pressure after all the procedure can have a cold bath in a diving pool for the body to cool down.
For all of the sauna bathers it is important to drink enough water afterwards and also between each turn they can have a brisk walk in the fresh air.
How many sessions is optimal?
Probably reading about time limits in a sauna you wondered how many sessions you are supposed to have. Usually an optimal number of sauna sessions per day is 3. However, it depends on how many days per week you use sauna. The approximate formula of sauna visit looks like this: 1 x sauna a week = 3 sessions, 2 x a week = 2 sessions, sauna every day = 1 session.
Overall, the time spent per day in a sauna varies from 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the frequency too. The most important thing is to keep the fun in the limits of common sense and observe yourself how you feel having the procedure.
What happens if you stay in a sauna for too long?
I guess I have never stayed in a sauna for too long because I am still alive. Well, it is a joke and the cases of death in saunas are rare but it is written that misusing saunas can be a cause of a stroke or a heart attack. I remember myself suffering from the heat of some summers and it seemed like dying. That is why it looks impossible that someone would like to stay in a sauna for more than 15 minutes. But if such people who really enjoy super hot air exist, they must know that there are some real dangers to overlook the seriousness of sauna.
The first danger on the list is dehydration. It might occur if the temperature in the sauna is too high or, as I mentioned above, the amount of time spent there is not right. There are some illnesses which can make the ones having them dehydrate faster, as well as it is more risky to misuse sauna when being pregnant or drunk. Before entering each person should inquire how the heat affects their health if they have particular illnesses.
Secondly, overheating in sauna may cause burns. Most of the burns which occurred in saunas are not grave but there were cases when the injured needed operative treatment. So this risk shouldn’t slip though our eyes.
Thirdly, there is a danger of too high or too low blood pressure. If the person suffers from cardiovascular problems, the difference between hot and cold might rise the blood pressure and cause a heart attack. However, if a person is perfectly healthy and the amount of time in a sauna is right, regular visits can reduce mortality.
So we all wish the summer to stay forever. We all wish to be healthy and happy. Moreover, most of us likes changes time after time. Sometimes we wish to be crazy and wild, other times to relax and chill. In a way, you can have it all going to a sauna. Or in other ways which you choose. But it is good to know what you are doing. Even if you are about to have fun.