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The Difference in Heart Rate Between Running and a Sauna

Although hitting the track for a long jog and hitting the sauna for some rest and relaxation will both cause your heart rate to go up, the mechanism behind each temperature increase is completely different. Additionally, a higher heart rate in the sauna could have more negative effects on your health than positive, while running improves overall health considerably.


Heart Rate Between Running and a Sauna


Heart Rate and Running

When you exercise, your muscles need to consume energy to keep you moving around the track. This metabolic process uses oxygen as its main component, and your heart is responsible for circulating oxygenated blood throughout your body. A good way to estimate your physical effort during a run is to measure your heart rate after a workout. The higher your heart rate, the more intense your workout was. You can find your heart rate by measuring your pulse on the inside of your wrist for six seconds, then multiplying that number by 10.


Heart Rate and Sauna

Although wrapping yourself in a towel and sitting down in the sauna requires little muscular effort, your heart rate will increase as a direct result of the spike in external temperature. The warmer it is in the external environment, the higher your heart rate will climb as your body attempts to cool down your core temperature. Your heart rate can jump by more than 30 percent within a few minutes in the sauna, doubling the amount of blood your heart pumps with each beat.


Relative Benefits

Aerobic exercises such as running have a profound effect on overall health, especially where the cardiovascular system is concerned. With a regular jogging routine, you can decrease your resting heart rate, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and improve cardiac functions. Although saunas promote relaxation and may be beneficial in short stints from a mental health perspective, they don’t appear to have any lasting positive effect on your body.



Within just a few minutes of entering a sauna, your skin temperature can rise above 104 degrees Fahrenheit and your core temperature skyrockets. Because of this, staying in a sauna too long can result in dangerous heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke, heat exhaustion and dehydration. Similarly, running in warm temperatures or running for too long can result in the same conditions, so take care to keep hydrated during a run or when you’re in the sauna. Additionally, pay attention to dangerous warning signs such as dizziness, confusion and nausea.


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