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Heart Rate and Infrared Training

When you manage your heart rate appropriately during exercise you can govern the physiological response in a way that gets you to your fitness goals in a fast and efficient manner. When this is done in an infrared sauna, the core temperature of your body rises, leading to an elevated heart rate. The cool thing about training in an IR sauna is the reduction of the time that is necessary for a workout warm up. A proper warm up requires an increase in body temperature to loosen the muscles as well as an increase in heart rate to the appropriate level to process the increased need for oxygen.

This increase in heart rate improves cardiovascular conditioning over time. Of course, people who are new to infrared training should go slow at first and build up to an accelerated pace and level of intensity. This can be accomplished with a “go at your own best pace” approach.

Generally, you should keep your heart rate around 70-90% of your heart rate max level during infrared exercise. The heart rate maximum formula is simple. Take your age and subtract it from 220 and that will amount to your “rule-of-thumb” heart rate max.

An increased heart rate during an infrared workout can have many benefits. Here are a few of the potential advantages:

Cardiovascular Workout: It’s no secret that elevated heart rate during an infrared sauna session combined with an isometric or HIIT workout can help to improve blood circulation, enhance cardiovascular health, and contribute to a stronger heart.

Caloric Expenditure: The increased heart rate also leads to an increase in metabolic rate and caloric expenditure. This can support weight loss goals and contribute to a boost in energy expenditure. Generally, a 1 degree C increase in core body temperature will increase your metabolism by 10-13% and yield approximately 100-130 extra calorie expenditure in a given day.

Detoxification: Sweating induced by an infrared sauna, like that of the HOTWORX patented workout sauna, can help eliminate toxins and heavy metals from the body. Without argument, increased heart rate and blood flow can facilitate the transportation of these toxins to the skin's surface for excretion, and sweating is a natural mechanism through which the body eliminates toxins, not just a means for cooling the body.

As your heart rate increases, your body temperature rises and increases sweating to cool the body. Additionally, however, sweat contains various waste products and toxins, including heavy metals, urea, and other metabolic byproducts. The increased heart rate and associated blood flow can help transport these waste products to the skin's surface, where they are excreted through sweat. It’s important to remember that infrared induced sweat contains 7X more heavy metals and toxic waste than that of a traditional sauna.

Endorphin Release: The infrared heat and increased heart rate can stimulate the release of endorphins, which are the natural "feel-good" hormones. The result is a sense of relaxation, stress relief, and an improved mood.

Muscle Relaxation: The warmth from the infrared sauna can help relax muscles, alleviate tension, and reduce muscle soreness. The HOTWORX infrared workouts are a recovery workout, meaning that the recovery begins the moment you begin a workout in the sauna. Why workout then go to the sauna when you can do both at the same time? The increased heart rate from the sauna workout enhances blood flow to muscles, accelerating recovery.

Improved Skin Health: The increased blood circulation resulting from the IR vasodilation and elevated heart rate helps to nourish the skin cells, leading to improved skin tone, texture, and a healthy skin glow. It may also support wound healing and the reduction of skin-related issues such as acne, psoriases, rosacea, and eczema.

When you begin an infrared training program it is important to ease into the program and allow your body to acclimate to the heated environment. Stay hydrated before, during, and after each sauna workout session, and listen to your body. Learn how to measure your heart rate during your workout with a good tracker like that of an Apple Watch, and reap the heart rate benefits of infrared fitness!


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Stephen P. Smith, MA
CEO and Creator of HOTWORX, Author, Former National Collegiate Bodybuilding Champion and Arena Football Player, Certified Professional Trainer


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