The Dangers of Sitting
Here's what happens to your body and how to combat the damage.
Good news: enjoy cardiovascular benefits, clear skin and soothing peace of mind without having to stand!
When it comes to health and fitness, it usually goes like this: you want results? You've got to work hard. No sitting on your ass. Because no pain, no gain right? Which is what makes this news so refreshing. Most of us think of saunas as something of an athletic afterthought—a way to soothe sore muscles after a workout or maybe sweat out all the drinks you had the night before. But it turns out, this ancient practice of sweating in a small, dark, hot room does a body good in more ways than one.
A new long-term study from the University of Eastern Finland followed more than 1,600 men over the course of 22 years and found that men who took two to three sauna baths a week lowered their risk of developing high blood pressure by 24 percent, and men who took four to seven sauna baths weekly lowered their risk by 46 percent. Co-author Dr. Jari Laukkanen, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the university, equates this change to the temperature increase that occurs in the body while sauna bathing, dilating blood vessels and increasing the resting heart rate to allow for better circulation. This reduces your risk of coronary diseases, sudden cardiac death, hypertension and Alzheimer's disease.
And in the short term, the meditative quality of relaxing in the heat allows your mind to wander and encourages deeper thought. As circulation increases and your pores open, you sweat out the toxins and environmental grime lurking in your skin's pores. The sweat flushes out all the gunk that causes you to breakout and the increased blood flow means more nutrients are being delivered to the skin.
So to recap: regular use of a sauna increases your cardiovascular health and wards off heart disease. Sore muscles are soothed and your mind is freed to think more clearly. Oh, and your skin looks and feels better. All just by sitting on your ass? Yeah, we'll be at the sauna if you need us.