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Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 2014 Mar;74(2):89-94. doi: 10.3109/00365513.2013.860616. Epub 2013 Dec 5.

The effect of a single Finnish sauna bath after aerobic exercise on the oxidative status in healthy men.

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The Chair of Medical Biology, Nicolaus Copernicus University Ludwik Rydygier Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz , Bydgoszcz , Poland.



The aim of this study was to determine the effect of Finnish sauna as a regeneration method post-exercise on the oxidant-antioxidant balance in healthy men.


43 men aged 24.0 ± 4.3 years performed a 30-min aerobic exercise on a cycle ergometer and rested for 39 min at a room temperature (Day 1; 20°C) or in a sauna for post-workout recovery (Day 2; 90°C, air humidity 10%). Blood was taken 3 times during both study days: Before the exercise (baseline), 20 and 40 min after the recovery. Methods. The activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) was determined in the subjects' erythrocytes. The concentration of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) was measured both in plasma (TBARSpl) and in the erythrocytes (TBARSer).


A 12.7% increase in the TBARSpl concentration versus the baseline was observed 40 min after the Finnish sauna (p < 0.01). The CAT activity observed 20 and 40 min after the sauna was also found higher by 8.1% and 8.9%, respectively, in comparison with the baseline (p < 0.05). In turn, the TBARSer concentration was lower by 17.5% 40 min after the recovery in the sauna, as compared with the TBARSer concentration 40 min after the recovery at the room temperature (p < 0.05).


A single Finnish sauna bath as a source of free radicals per se is able to reduce oxidative stress induced by a 30-min aerobic exercise in healthy men.

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