Fortunately, my sarcastic eye-rolling is hidden in the mist… but I always think it’s silly when people in the steam room think they’re sopping wet in exclusively their own sweat. Umm, hello – it’s called moist heat. If you’ll notice, the ceiling, walls, and your water bottle are all “sweating”, too. Neat party trick. I’ve also questioned the validity of the claim to losing weight by sitting in a steam room.
So I’ve done some research, on various health, beauty, medical and fitness sites to investigate what a steam room actually accomplishes (such as this article from Body Building. Hey, those guys are serious about their fitness stuff.) As it turns out, this favorite relaxation activity of mine actually has numerous positive side effects – include fitness, health, and even beauty benefits.
But first, a quick story on my steam room muse. Anytime I need some blog post fodder, it never hurts to head to the gym. Where there is no shortage of characters. Especially in the steam room.
Because I’m there for *silence* and *relaxation*… I’m not too chatty in the steam room. I’ll go so far as to divulge that in this Unfriendly Zone of Mine, I greatly prefer the steam to be ON. In noisy, full steam-shooting mode. Eliminating that awkward silence, which some feel the burning need to fill.
On the other hand, sometimes these encounters can be entertaining.
[Enter pot bellied, 50-something man in swim trunks]
Man: Whew! Ack! Hoooo-ey!
Man: This is. (Long, loud exhale) Whew. This is too… this is thick. This hurts. It’s so… THICK. This is like… like EATING A STEAK.
Me: (Stifles a giggle.)
Man: Hooooo!! Man. This is good. This clears your lungs out. It’s like the dinosaurs. It’s the same as when the dinosaurs were on earth.
Me: (Big smile. I like this guy, I just don’t have a response to that.)
After about 2 1/2 minutes, Mr. Dinosaur Age Expert has had enough, and leaves to go back and join the Non-Steamy Modern World.
His amusing commentary got me thinking. You can tell that for many people, it’s pure torture to be endured. They force themselves to sit in the steam room for as long as they can stand it. Not me – I love, and I do mean love, my time spent in the gym’s steam room. Honestly, it can be the entire motivating factor in getting my lazy to the gym at all. But for me, that’s all it’s about: just pure relaxation.
Hmmm… is there more to this? What are the actual benefits of a steam room?
Benefits of a Steam Room
Are you ready for this great list? Turns out there are beauty, health, and fitness related benefits of a steam room.
Sitting in a steam room helps:
- Relax stiff joints and muscles after workouts (assists in recovery)
- Cleanse your skin, open pores, clears out impurities
- Increases metabolism
- Quickest way to detox (sweating is 1 of 4 means your body uses to eliminate toxins)
- Alleviate pain from sports injury
- Hydrate dry skin
- Eases symptoms of a cold (opens airways, alleviates congestion)
- Enhances development of collagen
- Some claim it’s superior to body wrap in treatment of cellulite.
- Water reduction in body can contribute to weight loss
- Boosts your immune system (increased core temp is hyperthermia – a “fake” fever; invading organisms can’t live in the body when it’s temperature is raised… thus hyperthermia kills or weakens them, giving your immune system a better shot at fighting them off.)
My final tip for you: bring your water bottle right into the steam room with you. It’s important to stay hydrated, and you’ll last much longer to enjoy… you know… all the awesome benefits of this Age of the Dinosaurs experience.
Gotta go. It’s time for me to head to my gym’s steam room!
*o* *o* *o*
Do you enjoy steam rooms, and did you realize how many benefits they offered?