Why do professional athletes, runners, cyclists, wrestlers, MMA fighters and fitness enthusiasts participate in frequent infrared sessions? Because increased blood flow, improved circulation, detoxification, weight management, skin rejuvenation, relaxation, pain relief, enhanced sleep and boosted energy are all benefits infrared exposure can provide. For athletes and wellness seekers, physical fitness is crucial. Keeping the body healthy, strong and ready for excellent performance requires diligence and self-care and infrared is on your team.
Whether it’s for fun, exercise or your career, infrared heat can work wonders by improving endurance, heightening tolerance levels and enhancing overall performance. Let’s dive right into how it works.
While there’s always room for athletic improvement, it’s possible to achieve impeccable performance by working your body, managing your state of mind, focusing on nutrition, staying hydrated and practicing sports safety. Because infrared heat can penetrate deeply into the body, it can relieve pain, soothe stress and break up fats and toxins. Experts say a one hour session can assist with releasing about 15-20% toxins and this is why participants really notice a difference in how they feel. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, infrared can lower cortisol levels (to provide calm), increase tissue extensibility, relieve muscle spasms and extend enhanced cardiovascular activity post-workout.
A study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport found infrared exposure post-workout can also improve running endurance. Researchers noticed that those who utilized an infrared sauna after exercise could run up to 23% further before exhaustion than those who did not. What’s the reason? The increased blood flow and circulation infrared heat promotes.
In 2015 a research team from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland studied the effects of infrared saunas on recovery from strength and endurance training sessions in men. The team put together a group of 10 healthy and physically fit men and treated them to infrared sessions after workouts like an isometric bench press and maximal isometric leg press. Participants of the study saw a significant improvement in the participants countermovement jump and scientists concluded that infrared bathing is favorable for neuromuscular system recovery and maximal endurance performance.
Recover Like a Rockstar
Prevention and treatment are on top of mind for those who play sports or live an active lifestyle. Avoiding injury is often easier said than done and when injuries occur, a wrench is thrown into your regular routine. “Infrared speeds up injury healing by as much as 3 weeks, this can greatly reduce downtime,” says Dr. Aaron Flickstein, FIT Bodywrap Clinical Director, “Heat therapy with infrared can also decrease joint stiffness directly, helping joints to move more freely. It can work just as well with recently traumatized or chronically injured joints, making it an exceptional aid for injuries.”
A prompt recovery is critical, especially for those who have a big game, race or training session coming up. Heating injured, sore or strained muscles can yield an increase in blood flow, like that experienced during exercise. “Infrared saturation can provide a doubling of the blood flow rate in your core, organs, arms and legs, also known as the periphery,” says Flickstein. “This increased peripheral circulation can reduce inflammation, decrease pain and speed up healing. These are the important steps in helping the body recover from strenuous activity.”
So, if you could repair damage from injuries, prevent new ones, relax, detoxify and burn calories at the same time would you do it? You totally would, and that’s why adding infrared sessions into your fitness routine is a no-brainer.
By improving your sleep, level of relaxation and working to balance your metabolism infrared sessions can also work on boosting your energy. Overall, infrared can help rapidly reduce swelling by quickly eliminating inflammation and decreasing swelling related pain. Regardless of the injury you’ve experienced, your performance goals and more infrared can speed up your recovery and help put you back in the game, with better endurance!
- Carey, Ryan. “Why You May Want To Use A Sauna After Workout”. PurePharma. N.p., 2015. Web.
- Scoon, Guy S.M. et al. “Effect Of Post-Exercise Sauna Bathing On The Endurance Performance Of Competitive Male Runners”. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 10.4 (2007): 259-262. Web.
- Mero, Antti et al. “Effects Of Far-Infrared Sauna Bathing On Recovery From Strength And Endurance Training Sessions In Men”. SpringerPlus 4.1 (2015): n. pag. Web.
- Flickstein, Dr. Aaron M. Infrared Thermal System For Whole-Body Regenerative Radiant Therapy. 1st ed. 2016. Print.