I joined the YMCA last summer (had to do something about that belly; was starting to look a lot like Snoopy). I have two gyms nearby and sometimes I go to one and sometimes to the other.
Gym#1 has a steam bath in the locker room. Gym#2 has a sauna instead. I tend to prefer the sauna, but either one is relaxing after doing the gym thing.
Question: Aside from feeling good to tired muscles, what do they do for the body? There seem to be a handful of powerjock types at both locations who know how to run the temp up rather high, and they appear to be staying in as long as possible, far beyond the point of exceeding comfort. Are they just being jerks, or is there a health benefit to being in a very warm dry (or wet) room for long stretches?
I assume the following things are true: that it is good for the skin’s pores to be heated up to the point that you sweat to a sheen all over, to rinse out grime and oils–but that this benefit doesn’t get better for you the longer you stay in; that you are losing water from your system, and a little bit of waste excreted through your sweat, while you’re in there–but that the waste-excreting benefits do not scale in a linear relationship to time spent, and the water itself is going to be replenished, and needs to be; and, furthermore, that electrolytes are lost along with the other components of sweat, which can even approach dangerous if you were to stay in for a really long time after having already worked out in the gym–and these need to be replaced also. (and do Gatorade & equivalents do an adequate job if you’ve been cooking in there for a really long time?)
What do steam / sauna baths do to or for the heart? Lungs? Throat? Sinuses?
And are there risks / benefits of one that make it superior to the other?