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Sauna Etiquette: Do's and Don’ts for the Steam Room

If your gym has a sauna, consider yourself truly fortunate! Saunas are a wonderful place to relax and loosen up after an intense workout. The steam can help you to sweat out toxins, the heat will drain the tension from your muscles, and the quiet will be wonderfully restful.

But, as with every other part of the gym, there are rules of sauna etiquette that must be followed! Here are a few do's and don'ts for the sauna:

Do:

  • Be quiet -- Public saunas are a place for silence and meditation. If you're carrying on a conversation with a friend, do so as quietly as possible.
  • Get in and out quickly -- Leaving the door open will let the steam out. Close the door as quickly as possible when entering or leaving the sauna.
  • Bring your own towels -- You want one to wear, one to sit or lay on, and another to dry off once you leave. (Only bring the first two into the sauna--leave the other outside where it's dry)
  • Behave -- You're in a public place, so treat the room and everyone in it with respect.
  • Shower first -- This will get rid of any bad body odors, bacteria, and sweat. You want to enter the sauna clean!
  • Dress the part -- This isn't a Scandinavian sauna, and no one wants to see what you've got under the towel. Either leave the towel on or wear a bathing suit!
  • Ask first -- If you want to change ANYTHING (heat, steam, etc.) ask first. The last thing you want is to piss off the people sharing the sauna with you.

Don't:

  • Spit -- It may be fun to hear your saliva sizzle on the rocks, but that's poor sauna etiquette. Water is the only thing to touch those rocks!
  • Over-water the rocks -- If you put too much water onto the rocks, you can fill the room with excessive heat and make it uncomfortable for those who prefer the steam. Ask the others in the room if they want more heat/steam before splashing water!
  • Bring your electronics -- Not only will they be damaged by the heat and steam, but you'll annoy your fellow sauna-goers if you start chatting, texting, or playing games.
  • Work out -- The sauna is a place to relax and sit, not to grunt and groan as you work out. DO NOT work out in the sauna. If you can't sit still, get out!
  • Shave/Groom -- It should go without saying, but we're saying it anyways: leave your grooming for the bathroom. The sauna is NOT a place to brush your hair, brush your teeth, or shave.
  • Relax too much -- Groaning, sighing, or moaning will anger everyone around you. Yes, it feels wonderful to relax, but you need to prevent your relaxation from affecting everyone else's.
  • Treat the sauna as a clothes dryer -- This is not the place to hang up your wrinkled clothes! The sauna stove is for producing heat and steam, not for drying off your outfit.

Follow this advice, and you'll avoid angering the people sharing the sauna with you. Above all, remember: you are in a public place!

Some people get lucky and are born with fit, toned bodies. Andy Peloquin is not one of those people. Fitness has come hard for him, and he's had to work for it. His trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, an NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise, diet and healthy living. He loves to exercise -- he does so six days a week -- and loves to share his passion for fitness and health with others.

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