If you’re the type to waltz on into a sauna at the gym and stick around for a few minutes just to relax, consider lingering longer: The hot, dry rooms are good for your heart.

A new, long-term study over 14 years, published in the journal BMC Medicine, found that visiting a sauna two to three times weekly was associated with a 25% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to hopping in once per week. (This was after taking into consideration factors like physical activity, socioeconomic status, and cardiovascular risk factors.) For those who went into a sauna four to seven times weekly, that risk fell by 77%. What’s more, researchers also found that the longer people spent in the sauna, the better it was for their hearts.

Sauna going is a popular health practice in Scandinavia, so it’s no surprise that the researchers were from the University of Eastern Finland. Sauna bathing, as it’s called, has been linked to a lesser risk of high blood pressure, suffering a stroke, and developing respiratory diseases and dementia. (Traditional saunas feature dry air with a humidity level of 10 to 20% and heated to at least 86 degrees Fahrenheit, and people usually spend five to 20 minutes bathing each time they go, the researchers point out.)

Read more: https://www.health.com/condition/heart-disease/sauna-health-benefits



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