Saunas are one of the most popular therapies that have been used since ancient times across the globe. All you do in a sauna is sit and let your body sweat. Stepping in the sauna can have numerous health benefits, right from the heart to the skin. For example, a person may experience a jump in the heart rate and can even lose almost a pint of sweat.
In Scandinavia, saunas have long been used as a way to socialize and their many health benefits. And while they aren’t quite as popular in the United States, you can still find saunas in many gyms and community centres.
However, it is very important to follow the guidelines properly before stepping into a sauna, as it can even lead to death. There are several types of saunas depending on how the room is heated–it can be by burning woods or steam, electricity or infrared rays. However, is the most impertinent question being: Is it possible to lose weight in a sauna?
How Does A Sauna Work?
Saunas are heated, enclosed, wood-lined rooms with different benches, seating, design, and capacity options. The intense heat provides what has been called “a bath from the inside out.” This heat encourages detoxifying perspiration, relief from aches and pains, and deep relaxation, among many other health benefits.
How Many Calories Are Burned In A Sauna?
There is a ton of misinformation in the fitness industry in general, and one of the places where information gets distorted has to do with saunas. Time in the sauna feels great and offers health benefits, but some sources vastly over exaggerate the idea that you can lose weight in a sauna. For example, some claim that there are anywhere from 300-1000 calories burned in a sauna session of 30 minutes.
Doesn’t that sound nice? Do you get to kick back on your bum in a hot room for 30 minutes and use an average of 10 to 33.3 calories per minute? You/we wish!
If you have ever watched the readout on a treadmill or pushed yourself through a tough HIIT workout, you’ll know that burning a rate of even 14 calls per minute is extremely high and hard to sustain. So what makes people think that you burn such a high rate of calories by sitting in a sauna?
They claim that your body has to struggle to maintain its preferred temperature, which causes the metabolism to kick into overdrive, thus using calories. Of course, there is truth to that, but in no way would that ever cause you to use any more than double the rate of calories for doing exactly what it is that you do in a sauna or steam room; sitting.
Say you are 132 pounds and burn 30 calories in 30 minutes of sitting or resting. Multiply it by 1.5 and 2. So, you may burn somewhere around 45 – 90 calories. Just by sitting in the sauna!
But does this mean you can be in the sauna for 24 hours and come out slimmed down? Before your imagination runs wild, let me tell you how to make it work for you.
Increasing your body heat will help you burn extra calories. Doctor of Physical Therapy Tim Jackson says the heat will cause your body to raise its metabolic rate by up to 20 percent. This jolt to your metabolism will allow you to continue to burn calories for up to several hours after spending time in the sauna. In addition, the increase in temperature forces your heart to beat at least 30 percent faster, which means your body has to burn more calories for energy.
Can You Lose Weight in a Sauna or Steam Room?
Yes. But you’re not building muscle, you aren’t burning a significantly raised rate of calories, and you’re really only losing water weight. In addition, not replacing the water you are sweating out can actually make it harder for your body to lose weight.
The weight you lose while sitting in a sweltering room is pure water, the water you should be replacing as fast as you are losing. Otherwise, you are just severely dehydrating your body. Not practising proper hydration while you’re in one of these hotboxes is unhealthy and actually makes it tougher for your body to lose pounds permanently, as hydration is an essential component in shedding extra weight.
Really, you wouldn’t even want to use a sauna for weight loss, even in the most temporary instances. For example, if you are trying to lose weight very quickly for an event or to squeeze into a particular dress, you would feel (and maybe even look) terrible if you had used a sauna to drop those last few pounds before the event without rehydrating your body after the sweat session. Consistent, moderate healthy habits are key to losing weight and keeping it off; try your best to avoid extremes and quick fixes as they’re usually either a scam, not healthy or not sustainable long term.
How To Make Sauna Work For Weight Loss?
Sauna is an effective weight-loss method. However, it’s not magic.
You must schedule your sauna visits depending on your current body weight and target weight.
Typically, getting a sauna bath two-three times a week for two weeks will help kick-start your weight loss.
After two weeks, you will start to feel energetic and refreshed. Then, you must include light exercise in your daily routine.
For the next three weeks, take a sauna bath twice a week. After that, include strength training and cardio in your workout routine and take a sauna bath to relax and rejuvenate your muscles.
It is believed that sitting in a sauna can help you reduce excess fat. If you also believe in this, then you are incorrect.
A sauna does not help you to lose weight; it temporarily removes easily replaceable water from the body. In addition, excessive heat makes your body sweat, and sweating can make you lose fluid.
In other words, it can be said that you are severely dehydrating your body by sitting in a sauna. You are not building any muscles by sitting in the heated chamber and are definitely not burning your calories. If you do not hydrate yourself after stepping out of a sauna, then you are actually making it difficult to lose weight, as it is important to stay hydrated to shed kilos.
Sauna Weight Loss Tips
If you have a sauna or are considering purchasing one, in addition to the overall health benefits of basking in the heat, you can also enjoy weight loss benefits. Using a sauna alone won’t produce dramatic weight loss results but, as part of a healthy lifestyle, can enhance the effects of diet and exercise. Today we’ll explore five ways you can use a sauna to lose weight, and when you’re ready to purchase a sauna for your home or upgrade to a new infrared model, contact Black Pine Spas to see our array of stylish and affordable saunas for your home.
The most immediate benefit of a sauna is water weight loss. Because the intense heat makes you sweat, you’ll lose excess water stored in your body. As a result, you can lose up to five pounds in a single session, but most of the weight will come back as you rehydrate. However, if you need to shed a couple of pounds quickly, a sauna can help. For instance, if you need to drop a couple of pounds for a job, insurance or sports weigh-in or if you need to fit into a snug dress for an event, a sauna offers a quick trim down.
Water weight can contribute up to 5 pounds of your total weight. And it takes about seven days to lose the water weight with a restricted diet and a mixed workout routine.
Sauna, on the other hand, will help expel the excess water by inducing heavy sweating. It is extremely helpful in dropping a few pounds in just a day or two.
Sitting in a sauna will lead to weight loss because of sweating. You will see a change on the scale upon leaving the sauna since you have lost some water. Losing water weight is not permanent, however, and the lost weight is often gained back as soon as you eat or drink something. Because sweating helps decrease the weight so quickly, it is a tactic employed by boxers and wrestlers to make a specific weight class.
Sweating helps flush the toxins and impurities from your body. But, for most people, our everyday activities don’t generate enough sweat to seriously purge these unhealthy substances. Sweating also helps flush out heavy metals such as lead, zinc, copper, nickel and mercury that can be absorbed through foods or environmental factors. In addition, detoxification clears out the lymphatic system and helps your body burn fat more effectively, gives you more energy for exercise and can speed up weight loss.
Just like the Finns many years ago, people today use saunas to help detoxify the body. Sweat is composed of lymphatic fluid, so any toxins in the lymphatic system are expelled when you sweat. Jackson says eliminating toxins, such as heavy metals, helps you burn fat more effectively because they are no longer hindering your metabolism.
When you’re exposed to intense heat or cold, your body has to work harder, and your heart rate will increase by up to 30%. This boosts your metabolism – the rate at which you burn calories. Experts estimate that the high heat (around 150 degrees) will boost your metabolic rate by roughly 20%. This effect will last while you are in the sauna and for a couple of hours afterwards. So to keep the fat burning effects going, try to work up to a 30-minute sauna every day.
Stress is a known cause of weight gain and a barrier to weight loss. Tension encourages you to eat and increases the production of cortisol, which makes your body crave calories and makes it tougher to shed pounds. Basking in a sauna helps you get into a meditative state, reduce stress, and release endorphins – the happy hormones that counteract cortisol. Those with lower stress levels are less likely to overeat and more likely to engage in healthy activities.
Increased Exercise Capacity
One of the barriers to effective exercise is your breathing capacity. Time spent in the sauna can help reduce respiratory problems, increase respiratory function, and increase the production of vasodilator nitric oxide. Vasodilators dilate blood vessels which increases blood flow. This can improve your exercise capacity, meaning you can work out more intensely or for longer, naturally leading to increased weight loss.
To make the most of the weight loss benefits associated with a sauna, you should start with 15 to 20-minute sessions a couple of times a week and build up to daily sessions. The easiest way to do this is to invest in a sauna for your home. That way, you can bask after a stressful day first thing in the morning to purge toxins before you start your day or any time you want to flush out some sweat, recharge your batteries and boost your health and mood.
Common Types Of Sauna For Weight Loss
- Steam Rooms – Also known as Turkish baths, these rooms are steamy (no pun intended!) and humid.
- Infrared – Not the conventional sauna, but the acting principle is the same. Light waves are used to heat your body directly and produce sweat.
- Wood Burning – Sauna rocks are heated by lighting up wood. This is a typical traditional Finnish sauna, and the room temperature is high and is humid.
- Electrical Sauna – Instead of wood, the room is heated up using electricity.
Sauna is a great choice when you are just starting to lose weight. It will not only aid weight loss but also impart other health benefits. But it would be best if you ate healthily and slowly introduce your body to cardio and strength training to look toned up and strong. So, take care and be fit.
Undoubtedly, saunas offer a wide array of health benefits, but in any case, they should not replace a regular exercise routine. Apart from this, if you are suffering from blood pressure and heart disease, you should not step into a sauna. Also, pregnant women and children below 16 years should be prohibited from using a sauna.
There’s no problem with joining the leagues of people who make sitting in a hot box a fundamental part of their regular workout regime. There are health benefits to be gained from it. I know for me, it ends up feeling very relaxing. Just make sure that your main objective is not solely to lose weight; the calories burned in those sitting sessions are not substantial, you aren’t burning fat, and you are not building muscle.
Enjoying a sauna or steam room properly (and with approval from your doctor) is not a bad addition to a fitness routine, and it can be very enjoyable and serve as a bit of a treat after a particularly demanding workout. Just don’t erroneously believe that it’s attributing a noteworthy amount of calories burned to your total or that it’s going to help you lose any weight that you won’t re-drink in the next hour or two.
You’re much better off with real exercise. You create a true temperature regulation/metabolic boost effect on your body while exercising; when you push your body into strenuous physical activity, your metabolism is stoked as it tries to regulate body temperature, AND all of your muscles are called upon to function in unison, and your heart rate is elevated. That burns calories! Far more than sitting in a hot steam room or sauna. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training are excellent, scientifically-backed methods of increasing your metabolism – albeit slowly & marginally, but these things add up over time.