Taking a sauna after a swim will warm and relax you.
Your health club has all the amenities: a world-class weight room, all the fitness classes you could want, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a sauna, too. You may not have indulged in taking a sauna yet if you're unsure of the correct way to use it. If the main question in your mind is whether you should sauna before or after swimming, the good news is that there's no right or wrong.
Taking a sauna after you swim could be just the thing you need to unwind. Having done your laps first, your workout will be out of the way and the soothing heat is beneficial for helping your muscles to recover. If the water you swim in tends to be a bit chilly, a sauna is the ideal way to warm your body up because it helps increase blood flow.
If you prefer to swim after taking a sauna you'll be happy to know that it's an option you can safely practice. The book "Transcultural Health and Social Care" says swimming after a sauna can be relaxing, but it can be invigorating, too, depending on the temperature difference between the sauna and the pool. Swimming after sweating it up in a hot sauna will cool you down and wake you up.
Mix it Up
If you want to combine swimming with sauna, you're in good company. The traditional Finnish practice of taking a sauna includes alternating time spent in the pool and the sauna. You start with 10 minutes in the sauna, then hit the pool -- not to aggressively swim laps, but to move about in the cool water until your heart rate slows down. Then head back to the sauna for 10 more minutes followed by another light to moderate swim session. You can repeat the sequence once more or be done after your second swim. It depends on how much time you have and whether you feel you can handle more time in the hot box. In her 2013 book "Natural Healing," Linda Johnson advises readers to always finish with the cold portion of the regimen.
Whatever your preferred order of swimming and sauna, practice your sessions safely. Harvard Health recommends that your sauna sessions be no longer than 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Remember to drink at least two glasses of water after taking a sauna to avoid dehydration. Talk to your doctor if you plan to start a swimming/sauna regimen. While it's safe under normal health circumstances, if you have problems with blood pressure or your heart, the sudden change of temperature when you go from one activity to the next can cause problems.