Recovery for legs - saunas do they help/ hinder

With the increase in running and with my legs quite often aching, I wondered if anyone has strategies for aiding the recovery.

Does a sauna help?
What about alternate hot/ cold shower on the legs?


  • I think they probably hinder recovery.

    Running gets the body hot - and to heat it more probably puts it under more stress ?

    Paula does the ice baths to aid her recovery - but that doesn't sound as nice as having a quick sauna ?
  • They help imo.

    Tiredness in your legs (or muscles in general if you lift weights) is caused by micro-traumas in the muscle fibres that need repair and re-growth. A sauna increases the blood flow and thus the nutrients needed for the recovery of the muscle fibre.


  • Saunas increase blood flow to the skin and therefore reduce it to other areas especially deep tissue (and the brain) so will hinder recovery. Huge notices by my gym sauna and steam room saying noy advisable to use them if you've done a hard gymj session.

    Paulas ice bath method is the opposite, take blood away from the skin to the rest of the body.

  • I find the hydropool(big spa pool) at my gym really helps after i play hockey (and im an old git who gets very stiff these days) -if possible i will swim a bit first for 5-10 mins then into hydro for 15-20 mins to relax

    then into sauna and use the cold plunge pool a few times then into steam room

    find i can usually walk the day after i have played if do that 9i have a back problem that can get stiff especially if its very cold in mid winter)

  • Sauna's do a nice job of dehydrating you (like a hot bath), so wouldn't recommend after a long (or hot) run/race when you should be refueling/rehydrating.

    Stretching straight after and a recovery run the next day are key for muscle recovery, especially if you are trying to fit in high mileage. Also, make sure you get some protein in you 20mins after exercise, this will aid muscle recovery. Do those three things before any hot/cold treatment imho.

  •  Agree with Bowi I have up'd my intake of protein and I now wear compression leggings on all runs and my legs feel great after running. I used to ache like hell after long runs but wearing the leggings I don't ache at all, i wish i had tried them earlier.
  • Thanks to the land lady of the B&B being so stingey with her hot water - I had to have a cold bath after the Keswick Half - and my legs did feel better for it. Its not a v scientific survey tho, but you do hear of top athletes doing similar. I've never heard of an athlete using the sauna to recover.
  • What's the matter with a gentle massage from nubile/hunky person of the opposite sex?


    OK then.

    I use a cold bath followed by a warm up shower. When I'm brave enough. There's some (arnica & eucalyptus?) gel that is quite good for DOMS. I got a freebie once but can't remember what it was!

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