I went down to the local pool today to take out a membership. Fifty bucks for the signup and another twenty four for every following fortnight isn’t too bad, especially when you consider that I’ll make that back in locker hire in the first thirty-six days if I go every single day. Once again, the YMCA have proven themselves to be nothing but a bunch of chumps.
I’m not actually interested in the pool, the fitness classes (if I want to go cruising for soccer moms, I’m told that the richest pickings will be at the Eclipse premiere), or the waterslide (OK. I am slightly interested in the waterslide). What I’m after is their sweet, sweet sauna facilities.
While ostensibly working a few weeks back, I stumbled onto the Wikipedia entry about sauna. My interest was piqued by the idea of the hot/cold cycle, or, as the Finns call it, ‘jumping bare-ass naked into a hole hacked into an icy lake directly after sitting in sweltering heat for far too long’.
Apparently, it’s pretty good for you.
Studies have shown that the hot/cold cycle have some pretty fancy benefits for the human body. White cell production increases, stress hormones decrease (except for that jerk cortisol, who loves a good sauna), immune function increases, detoxification occurs at a higher rate, sleep and mood improve… even testosterone levels elevate.
Basically, what Scandinavia appears to have stumbled across is the organic version of Captain America’s super-soldier serum.
So, today, I took my first sauna for a long time. It took about ten minutes for me to say to myself OK, that has to be enough sauna, right?
Sweat was appearing in weird places – and when I say weird, I mean, those places that you first encounter in marathons, or boxing matches, or Bikram yoga classes. The insides of your elbows, the backs of your fingers, the soles of your feet. Places that have no business sweating in the normal run of things.
Taking this as an indication, I hit the cold shower.
Let me tell you, that thing’s not fooling around. It took about less than two seconds before my breath started to hitch and I decided that maybe a luke-warm shower would provide the same benefits. Then it was back into the sauna.
This is going to be an interesting project.