As the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) climbed to the unhealthy range and prompted the National Environment Agency (NEA) to issue a warning against strenuous activities outdoors, my friends who keep fit by jogging and swimming lamented that the haze smothered their wellness not just through bad air quality, but by suffocating their exercise plans as well.
The solution, well, is to move the workouts indoors to a gym as air-conditioners filter out smog particles and foul smell. Unless of course if the gym is open-air, then quah quah quah…
While any air-conditioned gym would do to weather-proof your workout, there’s an advantage with working out at SAFRA EnergyOne gyms… they come with steamrooms. The heat in steamrooms do more than just relax the muscles and improve circulation after a workout session, but are believed to help respiratory functions, an especially useful benefit during hazy days.
Now, I’m no expert on steamrooms nor have I verified any study that purports the health benefits of steaming, but this I know… I always feel great and relaxed after spending 10 minutes as a siew mai.
But there’s more to just feeling good after a steam. Wet heat, according to some studies, may improve overall respiratory health and combat conditions such as asthma, sinustitis and coughing, all ailments that are exacerbated by our annual haze crisis.
Steaming also coats our nostrils with moisture and prolong mucus activity along our nasal passage. The extra wetness is useful during hazy days to stick and trap smog particles and turn them into pi sai (booger), thereby reducing the amount of airborne dirt from entering our lungs.
Other benefits of using a steamroom include :
– Detoxification : Under high heat, the body sweats to draw heat away from core organs as a way of protecting them. During perspiration, wastes such as dirt, dead skin cells, and debris are expelled from the skin.
– Eliminate Infections : When our bodies are infected with viruses, the immune system work to kill the invaders by raising our body’s temperature since these pathogens cannot survive in temperatures higher than normal body heat. That’s why we develop fevers. Based on that theory, raising the body’s temperature artificially through steaming could deplete the population of certain viruses within our bodies and let our immune system mop up the rest.
Sounds like I can be a salesman for steamrooms doesn’t it? LOL. As mentioned, I’m not a qualified authority on the health benefits of steamrooms so I need to disclaim that the information provided were gathered online.
Steamrooms are not cures, but could complement an overall battle plan against the haze. When using heated rooms (especially saunas), always be mindful of dehydration and consult your doctor to determine suitability should you be suffering from chronic conditions such as hypertension, blood pressure anomalies, etc or is pregnant.
Although I love summer, I can’t wait for the haze season to pass. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to keep up my exercise regime and exchange the bad smog, with inhaling the good fog!
Here’s a tip when using the steamroom… bring along an aromatherapy oil (eg. lavender or bergamot so that it is not offensive to other users) and dap a few drops on the towel for a more relaxing steam as the fragrance infuses with the mist.