Humans are currently living longer than ever before. However, for many, they’re not necessarily living better.
Longevity isn’t just about living longer. It’s also about maximizing your health so you can enjoy a high quality of life and get as much as possible out of your extra years.
There are lots of steps that you can start taking now to increase your longevity and improve your health and well-being as you age. One of the most effective options, though, is to spend time in a sauna regularly.
Read on to learn some specific ways that sauna use can improve your health and increase longevity.
Factors That Influence Longevity
Before we dive into the effect that sauna use has on longevity, let’s address this concept a little more broadly. There are a lot of factors that play into one’s longevity, including the following:
- Physical Fitness: People who exercise regularly (particularly those who engage in both strength training and cardiovascular exercise) tend to have longer lifespans.
- Diet: Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables tends to increase longevity and reduce the risk of disease.
- Weight: Those who are obese tend to experience more oxidative stress and decreased longevity compared to those with lower body weights and body fat percentages.
- Sleep Quality: Poor sleep can reduce your quality of life and increase the risk of developing other conditions associated with a shorter lifespan.
- Stress Management: High levels of stress are also associated with increased cellular damage and an increased risk of health problems that impact longevity.
- Relationships: Those who do not have close relationships with friends or family members tend to have shorter lifespans than those who do.
- Drug and Alcohol Consumption: Smoking, drug use, and excessive alcohol consumption are all linked to an increased risk of several illnesses, as well as decreased longevity.
- Genetics: Genetics account for up to 25-30 percent of your life expectancy; some genes associated with a shorter lifespan include the APOE, CETP, and FOXO3 genes.
How Sauna Use Increases Longevity
Sauna use offers a variety of benefits directly connected to living a longer, healthier, and fuller life. The following are some of the most noteworthy ones:
Spending time in a sauna regularly helps to reduce stress and the effects that it has on the body. Simply sitting still in a warm, quiet environment can work wonders for reducing your stress levels. At the same time, though, important changes are also going on internally.
When you dedicate time consistently to sitting in a sauna, your levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) decrease.
High cortisol, especially when it stays high for long periods, can contribute to increased blood pressure and increased fat storage around the abdomen. These issues, in turn, can increase your chances of experiencing health problems (such as obesity or hypertension) that can decrease longevity.
Improved Cellular Health
Sauna use improves health on a cellular level. Improved cellular health, in turn, impacts all of the various organs and systems of the body and improves your overall health.
Regular sauna usage increases the function of the mitochondria, which serve as the powerhouses of the cells. When the mitochondria are functioning more optimally, all aspects of the body can also function more optimally.
Improved Immune System Function
A strong immune system helps the body to fight off and recover faster from infections. This increases your overall longevity and may help to minimize the impact that illness (when it does strike) has on you and your quality of life.
Spending time in the sauna decreases inflammation and increases white blood cell production. Both of these things help to strengthen the immune system and make it easier for you to be more resilient to illness in the future.
Improved Heart Health
Regular, long-term sauna usage can improve various aspects of your cardiovascular health. It can reduce stress and blood pressure, for example, as well as markers of inflammation.
Furthermore, sauna usage has also been shown to improve the function of the endothelium (the membrane that lines the heart and blood vessels) and the function of the left ventricle (which pumps blood through the aortic valve to the rest of the body).
Improved Brain Health
Spending time in the sauna can improve brain health and cognitive function, too. It supports and protects the brain in a variety of ways, including the following:
- Increases the expression of BDNF (short for brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which is a protein that promotes the growth of new neurons in the brain
- Improves blood flow to the brain; this clears amyloid-beta proteins, which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease
- Prevents and reduces symptoms of depression
- Increases the production of beta-endorphins, which are naturally occurring opioids associated with pain management
- Increases the production of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that improves your ability to focus
- Increases the production of prolactin, a hormone that supports the growth of myelin (the sheath that protects the nerves) and repairs damage caused to nerve cells
Sauna Use Tips for Maximum Longevity
At this point, you may be interested in using the sauna regularly, but you might also be unsure of how to get started. The following guidelines are a good starting point for healthy adults looking to start using a sauna for the first time:
- Aim for 4-7 sessions per week
- Start with 5-10 minute sessions and work your way up to 20-minute sessions
- Aim for temperatures of at least 174 degrees Fahrenheit, although temperatures of 176-194 degrees Fahrenheit may yield even better results
Remember, these are just general guidelines. You can always make adjustments to duration, temperature, frequency, etc. that help you to be more consistent with your sauna usage.
Start Increasing Your Longevity Today
Are you ready to start including regular sauna use in your wellness routine?
If increased longevity is a top priority for you, we have a variety of sauna options for you to choose from at Sun Home Saunas.