You might have heard that saunas or steam rooms can have benefits when added to your workout routine. If you’re looking for a gym with a sauna or steam room, you might be wondering if Gold’s Gym has these amenities?
Many of Gold’s Gym’s facilities have saunas and steam rooms, but the amenities vary by their location. Access to the steam room or sauna at a Gold’s Gym will also depend on your membership level.
If your local Gold’s Gym has a sauna or steam room, keep reading for more tips on the best way to integrate heat into your exercise regime and even improve your health.
I’ve also put together a complete list of gyms that do have a sauna, steam room, or infrared sauna!
What Are the Benefits of a Sauna?
Following your workout with a trip to the sauna could certainly be a relaxing way to end your session, but there’s evidence that it can benefit your health as well. A 2018 review found that using saunas regularly can improve performance in athletes. Here are some of the other health benefits you could experience:
- Improved heart health. Studies showed improvements in various cardiac measures after just two weeks of sauna therapy. According to Healthline, this is due to heat expanding blood vessels to improve blood pressure and circulation. WebMD reports that people who use saunas regularly have lower heart disease rates and may lower blood pressure.
- Improved chronic pain and fatigue. Heat is known for soothing sore muscles, and it can help with post-workout recovery and chronic pain. Saunas can be especially useful for those suffering from rheumatic illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Better breathing. The review also found sufferers from COPD and even allergic rhinitis saw improvements in ease of breathing.
- Lower rates of depression. One study found sauna treatment was effective in relieving mild depression.
- Lower rates of dementia. This longitudinal study out of Finland showed that the more middle-aged men used the sauna, the less dementia and Alzheimer’s disease were seen later in life.
- Relaxation. According to WebMD, some of the results regarding cardiac and other health benefits could be attributed to lower stress and more relaxation. “When you take care of your body, when you do things that help you relax, it’s going to be beneficial,” one of the researchers said.
What Precautions Should One Take Before Using a Sauna?
Although saunas and steam rooms can have health benefits, not everybody should use them, and precautions should be taken as they can be detrimental to your health if misused. Below, we list the guidelines you should follow for you to be safe.
- According to Harvard Health, you should check with your doctor before using a sauna or steam room if you have heart disease or uncontrolled high blood pressure.
- Make sure to rehydrate after using a sauna. The average person can lose a pint of body fluid in a single sauna session via sweating. Drink at least two glasses of water after getting out of the sauna.
- Don’t exceed 15-20 minutes in the sauna.
- Do not drink alcohol before or while using a sauna, as this could result in severe dehydration
- Avoid using the sauna if you feel ill and leave the sauna if you begin to feel dizzy or lightheaded.
- Pregnant women should consult their doctors before using a sauna or steam room.
Should You Use the Sauna/Steam Room Before or After Your Workout?
With all the added benefits saunas have to offer, you might wonder whether you should use one before or after a workout or both. General guidance on using heat to aid your workout is to use it after your workout, but not before. There are a few reasons why using the sauna before your workout isn’t a great idea:
- Dehydration: As mentioned, the sauna or even a steam room will raise your body temperature and make you sweat, causing dehydration. This can make you dizzy and fatigued and, in general, isn’t a great way to start a workout.
- Muscle relaxation: You want to stretch and warm up your muscles, but the heat of a sauna could relax your muscles too much, to the point of being more vulnerable to injury.
- The heat from the sauna could leave you tired, with less energy to put into your workout.
- Mental state: Saunas are designed to be relaxing, so they could sap your motivation and energy level by mellowing you out instead of getting you pumped up.
What Is Proper Sauna Etiquette?
Like any gym equipment used by a lot of people, a sauna or steam room has etiquette guidelines that may or may not be posted, so it’s a good idea to know the right way to use it. Here are some basic guidelines to follow:
- Shower before you go in. You’re going to get sweaty in there, but if you just worked out in the gym, you don’t want to bring all that stinky sweat and potential bacteria into the communal sauna with you.
- At least wear a towel or bathing suit. Don’t be the naked guy making everyone else feel weird. Nakedness is also recommended against just in case others don’t heed the first rule.
- Leave the electronics in your locker. Besides the fact that it could annoy others to text while sauna bathing, your phone will not appreciate the amount of heat and possible moisture involved.
- Be quiet. People use saunas for relaxation, not chit chat.
- Be quick. just like any other gym equipment, it’s not polite to hog it. Make sure you only stay in the sauna for 15-20 minutes to make room for others.
- Don’t exercise. A sauna is not a private hot yoga studio, so don’t distract and annoy others by trying it.
What’s the Difference Between a Sauna and a Steam Room?
Saunas and steam rooms are very similar, but they also have some key differences. Your gym may have either or even both. The difference is in the moisture: a steam room, as the name implies, uses steam or moist heat to warm the air in the room. A sauna typically uses electric heat and is generally a dry environment.
Are there other important differences? Possibly, depending on your preferences and reasons for using them. Here are some key differences:
- Saunas are hotter. While steam rooms typically reach 110-120°F (43.3-49°C), saunas can reach up to 200°F (93.3°C), although the difference may not be as noticeable due to the difference in humidity.
- The walls and seats of saunas are usually made out of wood since, at the temperatures mentioned above, almost any other material would burn your skin. Steam rooms are typically made of tile or some other non-porous material.
- While heat is probably the main factor in terms of health benefits, some conditions could be improved with steam, such as congestion or respiratory issues.
Can Using a Sauna Help Me Lose Weight?
Technically, a sauna can cause you to lose weight; however, this is almost entirely water weight lost through sweating. And while the high temperature does increase your heart rate slightly, it’s a negligible amount that won’t add much to the calories you burned at the gym.
Saunas and steam rooms can be a great way to relax after a workout and improve your performance and health. Just be sure to consult a doctor if you have any questions about your health and keep in mind the precautions and etiquette, and you can relax and enjoy it.