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The setbacks of steam rooms

HealthBy Sunday World
The setbacks of steam rooms

When your all inclusive membership means unlimited access to spa facilities, it's tempting to treat yourself to a relaxing steam room session after hitting the gym. But now experts warn this could be a mistake, as such a hot environment could have detrimental effects after a dehydrating workout.

Thanks to all the sweat you produce during exercise, your body will be seriously lacking in water. Unsurprisingly, the steam room dries you out further, which has an impact on your blood pressure and could bring on dizzy spells and even fainting.

"The advantages of a steam room are all of the things that go with warming up. The heat gets your blood flowing and dilates your blood vessels, enhancing circulation to the muscles," Daniel Vigil, M.D., an associate professor of health sciences at UCLA and team physician for the UCLA Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, explained to

"The dangers are that once all those blood vessels are dilated, you must have adequate blood flow to the body and adequate blood pressure. When your blood pressure suffers, you can faint."

So it's not all bad news. But still, it might make sense to switch your sessions around and do the steam room before you hit the gym - that way you'll be all warmed up and ready to go.

If you still want to go after, there are things you can do to ensure you stay as safe as possible. Drink lots of water between the gym and the steam room and keep a bottle just outside with your towel. As soon as you feel a bit shaky or thirsty, get out of the heat and have a drink. Remember, listening to your body always pays off.

"You have to go in with a general sense of wellbeing," Dr. Vigil continued. "If you're feeling really good about your exercise, feeling strong, then you're okay. But if you're just not feeling well, or feeling lethargic, weak, wobbly, disoriented, or faint, you're getting into pretty bad trouble."

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