Taking saunas may reduce the risk for stroke. Scientists found that compared with people who took saunas once a week, those who took them two to three times weekly were 12 percent less likely to have a stroke. People who took saunas four to seven times a week cut that risk by 62 percent.
Researchers studied 1,628 men and women ages 53 to 74, free of stroke at the start. The participants reported how often they took traditional Finnish saunas and how long they stayed in the sauna, and the researchers followed them for an average of 15 years. There were 155 strokes over the period. The study is in the journal Neurology.
The study was observational, but there are plausible reasons saunas might be protective. “Temperature increases, even of 1 or 2 degrees Celsius, can limit inflammatory processes in the body and reduce arterial stiffness,” said the senior author, Dr. Jari A. Laukkanen, a professor of medicine at the University of Eastern Finland.
Take up these things for a longer life
Five behaviors could extend life expectancy at 50 by more than a decade, even without the discovery of a single new drug or medical treatment.
Researchers analyzed two large databases with 34 years of detailed health and lifestyle information on more than 123,000 men and women. The study, in Circulation, looked at five behaviors: eating a healthy diet, not smoking, getting regular physical activity, moderate alcohol consumption and maintaining a normal weight.
The scientists calculated that, on average, a 50-year-old man who adopted all of these would live 12 years longer than a man who took on none. A woman with the same five habits would live an average of 14 more years than a woman with none of them. The more low-risk factors a person had, the longer the projected life span.