Relaxing in the sauna is a beloved staple for many after the gym. While not all gyms offer this luxury, University of Maryland students are lucky enough to have access to one at their on-campus fitness center.
Eppley Recreation Center, located on the North Hill of campus, does in fact have a sauna, something many students aren’t aware of. It is located on the pool deck which can be accessed through the locker rooms. Yet with it not being frequently advertised,, many students never step foot near the pool to try it.
Those that are aware of its existence tend to be frequent users and try to carve out time after their workouts to spend some time in the sauna.
“To be honest I had no idea it existed until recently,” sophomore mechanical engineering major Marlaina Horowitz said. “Now that I know I love going down to sit in there for a little while after my workout. It just makes me feel so great.”
Even employees admit that patrons rarely ask about the sauna and that most of the staff actually found out about it from working there. Every once in a while someone will ask where it is, but not often.
“I think we should make it more clear we have a sauna, I mean it’s such a great amenity, why not make sure more students know so they can take advantage of it,” said junior Eppley supervisor Rebecca Navarro.
Navarro also mentioned that she enjoys using the sauna after finishing her heavy weightlifting workouts as well. She explained that sometimes she doesn’t sweat too much while lifting, so she enjoys relaxing in the sauna afterwards.
Beyond offering a way to relax your muscles post-workout, sitting in the sauna has been linked to many health benefits including reducing the risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases and conditions such as arthritis, headaches and the flu, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The sauna is particularly good for your heart as it opens your blood vessels, increasing circulation and reducing stress levels as a result, according to UCLA Health. Saunas have also been found to have an immediate improvement in blood pressure, especially when using it after a workout. Research also shows that saunas may help lower risk of heart disease, which causes one out of every five deaths in the U.S. Saunas are definitely safe for most people, with the exception of those with uncontrolled high blood pressure and heart disease. However, there are still a few precautions everyone should know before using one.
Drink plenty of water before and after using the sauna, and keep this in mind if you’re working out before to make sure you’re staying hydrated. Harvard University recommends drinking two to four glasses before and after using the sauna. Also make sure no to go in if you’re not feeling well and leave if you start feeling nauseous or unwell while in the sauna.
As for how long you should stay in for, 15 to 20 minutes is the maximum amount of time you should be in for. This may also depend on how vigorously you worked out before as you may have to shorten the time to make sure your body is not overheating.
University of Maryland students are lucky to have a sauna available for use at the on-campus gym. Next time you’re looking to relax, go check it out!