Saunas’ Heart Benefits

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A good sweat in the sauna may be as beneficial for your heart as moderate exercise. That’s the finding of a new study from Finland, which investigated the effects of a 30-minute sauna session on 102 middle aged adults with at least one risk factor associated with heart disease, such as high blood pressure, obesity, or high cholesterol. When participants stepped out of a 160-degree dry-heat sauna, their blood pressure had dropped by an average of seven points and their arteries gained elasticity, reports Time.com. Their heart rates had also risen, from an average of 65 beats per minute before the sauna to 81 beats after. “At the moment, we can say that sauna use is recommended, and it seems that more is beneficial,” says study co-author Tanjaniina Laukkanen. The positive effects of saunas are likely linked to heat exposure, which can widen blood vessels and improve blood flow. Sweating also has a natural diuretic effect, lowering blood pressure and easing the workload of the heart.

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