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Building Athletic Endurance Through Sauna Use

This article is Part One of our four-part series on the extraordinary effects of hyperthermic conditioning--or heat acclimation--through sauna use on athletic performance and general health. If this series doesn't convince you that a sauna should be a regular part of your health regimen, nothing will! We believe this information is so important, that we are featuring the series on both our Saunas US and Saunas Canada sites.

This series focuses on and breaks down the information provided by Dr. Rhonda Patrick in her YouTube video "Hyperthermic Conditioning for Hypertrophy, Endurance, and Neurogenesis". See the full video pasted below. Throughout the article, we will direct you to specific points in the video so you can jump straight there.


Hyperthermic Conditioning / Heat Acclimation Through Sauna Use

Heat acclimation--or hyperthermic conditioning--through regular sauna use can have profound effects on health and athletic performance. Specifically, in the following areas:

  1. increasing endurance capacity
  2. increasing muscle mass
  3. improving brain function, including neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells)
  4. causing the effect known as "Runner's High"

Refer to 1:08 in the video.

The Effects of Heat Acclimation on Endurance (1:49)

The following effects occur during hyperthermic conditioning:

  1. blood flow to muscles is increased, delivering nutrients and reducing dependence on glycogen stores during periods of activity, such as running
  2. blood flow to the heart is increased, reducing strain and heart rate, which allows activity to be maintained over a longer period of time
  3. blood flow to the skin increases, which aids in heat dissipation and helps keep the body's core temperature lower

Endurance Gains Through Sauna Use (3:22)

It was discovered that twelve 30-minute sauna sessions twice a week after an intense run led to a 32% increase in the distance run before exhaustion was reached, as well as a 7% increase in plasma volume and a 3.5% increase in red blood cell count, which aids in oxygenating muscles during exercise.

Heat acclimation through regular sauna sessions can help athletes improve overall endurance, particularly for cardio-related activities.

Be sure to check out the entire series on heat acclimation/hyperthermic conditioning:

  1. Building Athletic Endurance Through Sauna Use
  2. Increasing Muscle Mass Through Sauna Use
  3. Improving Brain Function Through Sauna Use
  4. The Runner's High Explained