Sauna use to improve heat tolerance in professional sports

Aussie professional racing driver, David Reynolds has come up with a smart strategy to fight against the extreme heat inside his Supercar cabin by buying a personal sauna and having it installed at his Melbourne home during the off-season. The 2017 Bathurst winner has been battling with hot temperatures while racing, causing him to reach a point of exhaustion during the Surfers Paradise and Newcastle races.

Reynolds made the decision to purchase the sauna following his struggle with high cabin temperatures during the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 event in October last year while driving his Penrite Ford.

To improve his tolerance to heat, Reynolds has been using the sauna every second night and has noticed significant progress in his ability to withstand high temperatures. His focus is on training his body to adapt to the heat so that he can concentrate on racing, rather than just surviving. The upcoming sprint rounds in Perth and Tasmania won’t pose any major challenges in terms of heat, but Darwin and Townsville, where temperatures consistently exceed 30 degrees and the races are 250km long, will be a different story. Reynolds aims to use the sauna regularly to maintain his heat adaptation, which he believes is crucial to his success as a racer.

More Examples of Professional Athletes using a sauna to improve heat tolerance:

Using a sauna to improve heat tolerance for professional sports is not a new strategy. The Australian Cricket Team incorporate sauna use into their preparation for playing in subcontinent temperature extremes and England’s Rugby Sevens team has turned to the sauna before arriving in Sydney during the middle of the Aussie summer. Socceroos Striker Tomi Juric used a sauna to prepare his body for the gruelling heat during the lead-up to the World Cup qualifier in Honduras a few years ago and many top-level athletes have long been investing in personal saunas for use at home, including some of the world’s fittest humans such as Novak Djokovic.

athletes using sauna

So, how does time in the sauna actually improve heat tolerance?

Essentially, when we exercise, our core body temperature goes up, which can make us feel tired and exhausted more quickly. However, if we acclimate or acclimatise to heat exposure (either through natural environments or controlled environments like saunas), our bodies undergo physiological adaptations that help us better regulate our body temperature and reduce strain during exercise in hot environments.

Studies have shown that even short-term heat exposure in a sauna can improve thermoregulatory and cardiovascular function, leading to better athletic performance. For example, female athletes who sat in a hot environment wearing a sauna suit for five days experienced improvements in their ability to regulate their body temperature and cardiovascular strain compared to a control group.

Similarly, a study with middle-distance runners who supplemented their endurance training with three weekly sauna sessions found that they had improved heat tolerance and cardiovascular function, as well as better muscle glucose utilisation. These improvements can lead to increased endurance and speed during exercise.

Overall, heat acclimation and acclimatisation can help us adapt to exercise in hot environments, reduce the strain on our bodies, and optimise our performance.

For full details on the relevant studies, you can visit world renowned researcher, Dr Rhonda Patrick’s website, here.

sauna to improve heat tolerance
mindful in may

Be Mindful in May and Pause for a Cause

What if you could find more focus, clarity, and effectiveness in daily life by learning a 10-minute mindfulness technique and at the same time have a positive impact on the world? Join the Mindful in May movement next month and you can make it happen. What is Mindful in May? Mindful in May is a

Read More »
wello works coworking sydney

Wello Works: Bringing Balance to Coworking Spaces Through Wellness

The popularity of coworking spaces has been trending upward for several years now. The same people who embraced the flexibility of working remotely in a post-pandemic world, are increasingly craving the social and productivity benefits that come with separating the work environment from the home. Fitness and wellness entrepreneur, Tony de Leede, has created a

Read More »
red light therapy benefits

A Close Look at the Benefits of Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy is one of the fastest growing wellness trends in the US and being offered as an extra for members in large fitness franchises such as Planet Fitness. But, is red light therapy really worth it? We took a look at the red light therapy benefits based on science to help you make

Read More »
blue mountains sauna business

From Dream to Reality: How Blue Mountains Sauna Became a Resounding Success

With the benefits of sauna use ranging from cardiovascular improvements, faster recovery, mental health, and increased longevity, it’s not surprising that more and more Aussies are making it a part of their overall wellness routine. Blue Mountains Sauna opened in 2022 and has been a roaring success with heat-seekers travelling from far and wide to

Read More »
the real body movement gympie

Building strength through community with The Real Body Movement

For many people, the gym is just somewhere to squeeze in that obligatory hour of exercise with a set of headphones in their ears or rushing in and out of a group class with barely a word spoken to their fellow attendees. For others, their gym is a genuine community – a place where connections

Read More »
meditation for sports performance

Meditation for Sports Performance: Unlocking the Mental Edge in Athletes

Highly performing athletes do not only require physical strength, agility, and resilience paired with skill level; they need mental focus, quick response time, and cognitive adaptability to excel in their sport. Exploring meditation or mindfulness practices could bring rewarding results for these mental aspects. Even on a more casual level of the person who thinks

Read More »
Scroll to Top