Ever wondered why all the workout pros are obsessed with saunas and infrared light these days? Sessions with glowy beams may be a secret weapon to enhance your training results. Infrared therapy delivers some next-level recovery powers to bounce back stronger from intense training. Ready to up your game? Let’s break down how and why using infrared before and after sweating it out can take your gains to new levels.
Infrared light falls under the umbrella of light therapy, also called low-level light therapy (LLLT). Unlike lasers, these infrared wavelengths penetrate deep to interact with cells without generating heat. As Keri Glassman, a New York City-based nutritionist, explained to Well+Good, “Infrared light increases local circulation and speeds healing and recovery.”
Scientists believe infrared flips mitochondria’s switches, stimulating energy production while reducing inflammation. This cellular-level effect has anti-aging and healing properties. A 2016 study in The Journal of Athletic Training found infrared decreased muscle damage and soreness in athletes. Other research links it to reducing lactic acid buildup, improving flexibility, and easing muscle fatigue and joint pain.
In short, infrared photobiomodulation supercharges recovery on a molecular level. Using it strategically around workouts maximizes these benefits to up your performance gains.
Getting in some glow time pre-sweat sesh primes your body for optimal results:
Loosens muscles: 10-15 minutes under the beams loosens tight muscles and joints for injury prevention by raising tissue temperature slightly.
Boosts blood flow: Increased circulation delivers more O2 and nutrients to working muscles, allowing a more intense workout.
Switches on mitochondria: Getting cells’ mitochondria activated via infrared “turns up the flame” under hard training, prepping muscles to burn fuel efficiently.
For best effect, experts suggest low-level full-body or localized infrared exposure 30-60 minutes before training. Feel your muscles thank you with stronger, pain-free performance!
Where pre-workout infrared readies muscles for intense exertion, post-sweat sessions maximize recovery for even bigger gains:
Accelerates repair: Targeted application of infrared to sore muscles, joints or injury sites enhances the body’s natural inflammation response for faster healing.
Reduces lactic acid: Exposure helps flush out the muscle-fatiguing chemical up to 48% faster, per a Tokyo Medical University study.
Decreases muscle damage: Multiple studies link infrared to smaller increases in muscle damage biomarkers after intense exercise.
Eases muscle soreness: Most report significant pain relief after a 10-15 minute session.
Experts recommend low-level full-body infrared exposure or localized treatment of tired muscle groups within 30 minutes after training for the quickest recovery benefits.
While single pre- and post-workout infrared sessions aid recovery, regular use builds up protection to take fitness gains to new heights:
Up collagen production: Over time, infrared stimulates collagen synthesis for stronger, more pliant tendons, ligaments and joint structures.
Mitigate muscle fatigue: Frequent light therapy exposure conditions muscle fibers to resist fatigue better during intense training phases.
Reduce chronic inflammation: For athletes prone to nagging joint or muscle issues, infrared’s anti-inflammatory effects tame pain over the long haul.
Enhance immunity: The same mechanisms priming muscle recovery may strengthen overall immune function to help ward off training-induced sickness.
Making infrared light therapy part of your regular training routine via home red light panels or infrared sauna use pays long-term dividends. With less soreness interrupting workouts, more PRs will be yours!