Hypertension (high blood pressure) can strongly indicate future catastrophic coronary events such as heart attack, cardiac failure, stroke, and heart disease. It is a precursor to some of the leading causes of death in Americans. Hypertension is defined as the force with which your heart pumps blood through your arteries. This and the amount of blood your heart pushes out with each beat affects your blood pressure. While potentially problematic, hypertension may not always exhibit strong side effects. Risk factors for high blood pressure include:
- Family History
- Being overweight
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Tobacco Use
- Too much salt in your diet
- Too little potassium
- Alcohol Use
- Certain chronic illnesses
A study out of Finland showed that:
Men who regularly used the sauna four to seven times a week reduced their risk of developing hypertension by 46%. In contrast, those who used the sauna two to three times a week lowered their risk by 24%.
Now, being in a sauna does not immediately reflect a lower blood pressure. It's quite the contrary. The intense heat will cause your blood pressure to rise during your sauna session. However, blood pressure is generally lower than your baseline levels after a sauna session. Putting your heart and arteries under controlled pressure in a sauna can improve your heart's response to future malfunctions or illnesses.
The main reason for sauna bathing's success at improving cardiac health is its simulation of moderate-intensity exercise. As we all know the benefits of physical activity, sauna bathing can allow those who are unable to perform certain exercises an opportunity to reap those same benefits in a low-impact environment. For those looking to improve their fitness performance, adding a sauna session to their workout regime will intensify and contribute to their positive health benefits.