Shape Up: Turn Up the Heat

Derek Jameson

In today’s body conscious “nip n’ tuck” culture, we plug away on fitness machines, pump our bodies full of enhancements, and cake on the creams as if it’s our only saving grace to the glory days. However, at most of our community gym facilities we have two ancient forms of health and wellness at our disposal: the sauna and steam room. These methods have been implemented around the world to great positive effect for hundreds and hundreds of years.

Some may view these two amenities as just a sweatbox they can’t make time for, but a including a session a few times a week can positively affect your health, fitness, and appearance. Whether you like dry heat or prefer to get wet, both methods are extremely beneficial additions to your weekly fitness program.

Sweat!  A deep sweat can relieve stress, relax freshly trained muscles, and soothe aches throughout the body. An important function saunas and steam rooms can provide is the ability to flush toxins from the environment and from our various forms of consumption choices. If you’re hypertensive, this may also help with lowering your pulse and blood pressure. Both forms of wellness can cleanse skin, induce deep sleep, and burn calories. Our bodies already produce collagen and the penetrating heat brings it to the surface of your skin. This helps to aid in elasticity, making your skin look young, fresh, and more vibrant.

Steam rooms also aid with breathing problems associated with bronchitis, asthma, and other sinus problems. The heat opens up the airways, cleanses, and draws out impurities.

Rumor has it, sweating can also help us drop the water weight our bodies love to hold onto. Ever look in the mirror and see that extra layer sitting on top of your otherwise finely chiseled abs?  That’s water weight!  Our diets can contain a lot of water-hugging sodium. So, spending some time in the sweatbox can help shed the extra water if you want to look good for the summer pool parties! 

A question you may have is “What is the difference between the two?” 

The answer is simple: one’s dry and one’s wet!

Saunas provide dry heat and steam rooms give off a wet heat. Both can help cleanse the skin, loosen muscles, and give you all of the health benefits previously mentioned. It comes down to personal preference and the results vary from person to person. If anything, it’s a great time to relax and possibly make a new friend at the gym!

The Phoenix Effecta metabolic bootcamp that gets you in shape fast, is offered exclusively at Mansion Fitness, 7914 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood.