What Should You Wear in a Sauna? For Men, Women, and at the Gym

What Should You Wear in a Sauna? For Men, Women, and at the Gym

What Should You Wear in a Sauna? For Men, Women, and at the Gym

The sauna experience is a cherished ritual for many, offering a multitude of health benefits such as improved cardiovascular performance, stress relief, and even a boost in mood. However, the question of what to wear in a sauna often arises, especially for beginners. This guide will provide comprehensive advice on appropriate sauna attire for men, women, and gym-goers, always keeping in mind that individual comfort and safety are paramount.

Understanding Sauna Etiquette

Before diving into the specifics of what to wear, it's crucial to understand the etiquette that governs sauna use. Sauna etiquette varies greatly depending on the culture and the setting. For instance, in many Nordic countries, it's common to sauna naked in a same-sex setting or among close friends and family. However, in a public gym in the United States, nudity is typically not acceptable.

Regardless of the setting, the universal rule is respect for others. This means maintaining cleanliness, keeping noise levels down, and wearing attire that is comfortable for you and respectful to others. It's also important to remember that everyone's body is different, and what feels comfortable for one person may not for another. Always consult with your doctor before starting any new health regimen, including sauna therapy.

What to Wear in a Sauna: Men

For men, deciding what to wear in a sauna can depend on a variety of factors, including personal comfort, cultural norms, and the specific rules of the sauna you're using. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Swimwear: A pair of swim trunks is a safe and commonly accepted choice for men in most public saunas. They provide adequate coverage while allowing the body to sweat freely.
  • Towel: A towel is another good option. It can be wrapped around the waist for coverage and used to sit on, which helps maintain hygiene.
  • Sauna suit: Some men prefer to wear a sauna suit, which is designed to increase sweating and potentially enhance the health benefits of the sauna. However, these should be used with caution and under the guidance of a health professional.

What to Wear in a Sauna: Women

Women, like men, have a range of options when it comes to sauna attire. The key is to choose something that allows the body to sweat naturally and provides a level of coverage that feels comfortable and respectful. Here are some suggestions:

  • Swimwear: A bikini or one-piece swimsuit is a common choice for women in public saunas. They are designed to withstand heat and moisture, making them suitable for the sauna environment.
  • Towel: A towel can be wrapped around the body for coverage and used to sit on. Some women prefer a larger, bath-sheet style towel for added coverage.
  • Sauna suit: As with men, some women choose to wear a sauna suit. However, it's important to use these with caution and consult with a health professional before use.

What to Wear in a Sauna: At the Gym

At the gym, sauna etiquette can vary, so it's always a good idea to check the specific rules at your fitness center. However, here are some general guidelines:

  • Swimwear: If the gym has a pool, wearing your swimwear in the sauna is usually a safe bet.
  • Towel: A towel is a must-have, both for sitting on and for wrapping around your body if needed.
  • Gym clothes: While it's not ideal to wear full gym attire in the sauna, if you're uncomfortable with the idea of stripping down to swimwear or a towel, lightweight, breathable gym clothes can be an option. Avoid heavy fabrics that can restrict sweating.

The Science Behind Sauna Use

While the focus of this guide is on what to wear in a sauna, it's worth noting the science behind why people use saunas in the first place. Research has shown that regular sauna use can have a variety of health benefits.

For instance, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that regular sauna use was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Another study in the American Journal of Hypertension found that sauna therapy could help lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension.

Additionally, a review in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that sauna use could help improve symptoms of conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia. However, more research is needed in these areas, and individuals should always consult with a healthcare professional before starting sauna therapy.

Conclusion

Choosing what to wear in a sauna is a personal decision that should be guided by comfort, respect for others, and the specific rules of the sauna you're using. Whether you're a man, a woman, or at the gym, options range from swimwear to towels to sauna suits. Remember, the goal is to allow your body to sweat naturally while maintaining a level of coverage that feels right for you.

As with any health practice, it's important to listen to your body and consult with a healthcare professional before starting sauna therapy. With the right approach, the sauna can be a place of relaxation, rejuvenation, and health enhancement.

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