Sauna exposure is a common form of whole-body heating therapy. Previous studies done on the older population, suggest a positive correlation between time spent in sauna and cardiovascular health. Heat stress induces changes in the vascular response, but the effects on middle-aged and young populations are unknown. PURPOSE: To determine effects of whole-body heating on vascular resistance and blood pressure in young and middle-aged populations. METHODS: We recruited 18 individuals (10 young; 4 female, male, age= ~24.9yrs and 8 middle-aged; 4 female, 4 male, age= ~55.75yrs). Two T-type thermocouples were placed in the esophagus and vastus lateralis to measure core and intramuscular temperature. Two, 20-minute bouts of sauna were completed with blood pressure and vascular resistance measured at baseline, the 10-min break, and mins 30, 60, and 90 in the post heat recovery. Blood pressure was measured with an automated sphygmomanometer and vascular resistance was measured with doppler ultrasonography. RESULTS: Esophageal and intramuscular temperature in both groups were significant with a main effect of time (P−1 for the young and 1.03 ± 0.31 mmHg⋅min⋅ml−1 for the middle-aged, which decreased significantly to 0.18 ± 0.05 mmHg⋅min⋅ml−1 in the young and 0.16 ± 0.08 mmHg⋅min⋅ml−1 in the middle-aged following heat, which continued 30 minutes post recovery (P−1 in the young group and 0.48 ± 0.06 mmHg⋅min⋅ml−1 in the middle-aged group. Resistance decreased significantly to 0.16 ± 0.08 mmHg⋅min⋅ml−1 in the young and 0.18 ± 0.07 mmHg⋅min⋅ml−1 in the middle-aged group following heat exposure. CONCLUSION: Heat exposure appears to decrease vascular resistance in both groups, as well as blood pressure in middle-aged adults, suggesting a beneficial relationship between heat exposure and cardiovascular health.
Young, Ari; Leach, Olivia; and Gifford, Jayson
"The Impact of Acute Sauna on Young and Middle-Aged Populations,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings: Vol. 14:
3, Article 129.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol14/iss3/129