Last week I wrote a blog about a cardiologist who is also an entrepreneur and a new HOTWORX franchisee. As a follow up to that article, this week I will dive a little deeper into the importance of infrared fitness to cardio conditioning. Better cardio conditioning leads to a much higher quality of life. Indeed, breathing and the process of oxygenation through blood circulation pumped by the heart is the key to living a fit and healthy life. Developing a strong and healthy heart should be the most basic goal and a result of any fitness program. A strong heart makes all activities easier and more enjoyable. Far too many gym goers pay little attention to the conditioning of their cardiovascular system. Infrared workouts can speed up that process while making it fun.
Infrared training, specifically referring to the use of infrared saunas or infrared therapy, has gained attention for its potential benefits for heart health. While research in this area is ongoing and evolving, there are several proposed mechanisms through which infrared training may positively impact your cardiovascular health. These include:
Improved circulation: Infrared training enhances circulation by causing blood vessels to dilate, leading to increased blood flow. This effect helps deliver oxygen and nutrients more efficiently to the heart and other organs, thereby reducing the workload on the heart.
Enhanced cardiac function: Regular infrared sauna use has been associated with improvements in various markers of cardiac function, such as increased heart rate variability (HRV) and improved endothelial function. HRV refers to the variation in the time interval between heartbeats and is considered an indicator of autonomic nervous system balance, with higher HRV generally associated with better cardiovascular health.“The endothelium is a thin membrane that lines the inside of the heart and blood vessels. Endothelial cells release substances that control vascular relaxation and contraction as well as enzymes that control blood clotting, immune function and platelet (a colorless substance in the blood) adhesion.” (1)
Improved endothelial function, which relates to the health of the inner lining of blood vessels, can contribute to better cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Reduced blood pressure: Some studies suggest that infrared therapy may help lower blood pressure. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a major risk factor for heart disease, and by promoting vasodilation and improving blood flow, infrared training may contribute to blood pressure regulation.
Stress reduction: Infrared saunas are known for their relaxing and stress-relieving effects. Chronic stress can have detrimental effects on heart health, as it may contribute to increased blood pressure, inflammation, and other risk factors. By promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels, infrared training may indirectly support heart health.
It's important to note that while infrared training shows promise for heart health, it should not be considered a standalone solution or a replacement for conventional medical care. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, and following medical advice are all crucial elements of a comprehensive approach to heart health. It is critical to ensure that there are no pre-existing heart conditions prior to launching any exercise program.
As research on the specific effects of infrared training continues, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or cardiologist who can provide personalized guidance based on your specific health condition and medical history.
Maybe now is the time to add infrared training to your cardio fitness routine!