People have used saunas for centuries as a means of relaxation. In recent years, people have also begun to use saunas as a way to lose weight. But does a sauna help you lose weight? The short answer is YES. I will explain how down below.
A sauna is a compact space, such as a room or a home, where people can take steam baths or dry heat treatments. The heat and moisture make the sauna a relaxing environment. To get the most out of your sauna experience, it’s important to understand how they work and how to use them safely.
A Brief History of Saunas
The first recorded saunas date back to Finland over 2,000 years ago. They were initially built as temporary dwelling places in the winter because the Finnish people did not have access to building materials that could withstand the cold weather. These early saunas were nothing more than pits dug into the ground and covered with pine branches and a cloth roof. A fire was burned in the center of the hole to provide heat.
10 Sauna Weight Loss Benefits
Supported Endocrine System
The adrenal glands, thyroid, parathyroid, and pituitary are all part of the endocrine system. The endocrine system is also a big part of how your metabolism works. When your endocrine system isn’t working right, you tend to store extra fat around your middle, and it’s harder to lose weight even if you eat well and work out.
Infrared saunas might be able to help with this. Their infrared waves get into your body and soothe your mitochondria, which are the powerhouses of your cells. This makes your body more ATP, giving you more energy and speeding up your metabolism. In addition, your stress response might start to break down thanks to the sauna’s relaxation benefits, which enable your endocrine system to recuperate.
When you put your body through extreme heat or cold, it has to work much harder to do its job. This can increase your heart rate by as much as 30%, which can speed up your metabolism and help you shed more calories.
Even before you enter the sauna, you can drink cold water. You’ll burn more calories because your body has to work a bit more to maintain your temperature.
This works because, to lose calories, your body has to give off heat. So, for example, your body emits more heat when you exert much effort to chill down in a sauna, which causes calorie burning.
Muscle & Joint Pain Relief
You probably need to exercise regularly to get the best benefits if you’re losing or trying to lose weight. However, exercising can cause severe muscular aches, especially when you initially start, which may make you decide against going to the gym.
After exercising, using a sauna might lessen these symptoms. Your body produces more white blood cells due to the sauna’s heat, which helps decrease muscular inflammation, speed up the healing process, and ease stress.
The same is valid with joint discomfort. Exercise may bring joint pain, but it may also result from regular wear and tear. In any case, the sauna’s heat can assist your body in naturally reducing inflammation, lowering discomfort, and making it easier for you to go about your regular activities.
Utilizing a sauna has been shown to improve cholesterol and fat lipids. Infrared treatment for fat cells has been demonstrated to reach these cells deeply, boosting local blood flow and encouraging cleansing. The appearance of cellulite, where fat cells protrude close to the skin’s surface, is reduced most noticeably. Although cellulite is not a weight signal, smoothing and shrinking the fat cells is an excellent benefit when attempting to gain confidence.
According to studies, those who use saunas are more likely to have a considerable drop in LDL (bad cholesterol) and a minor rise in HDL (or good cholesterol). These findings align with the benefits of moderate exercise on cholesterol. In addition, lower harmful cholesterol levels are a strong indicator of weight reduction and better health.
Better Sleep & Relaxation
Although sleep may not seem to be a massive advocate for weight reduction, it is crucial to ensure that your mind is in the correct place. If you don’t get enough sleep, you may be unable to make good decisions about what to eat. This could lead you to crave unhealthy foods or eat more than you need to get more energy. Stress and worry, which may be catalysts for unhealthy eating, can also rise with less sleep.
By influencing the autonomic nervous system, sauna use helps you relax and fall asleep quickly. You should be inspired and prepared to achieve all of your weight reduction goals if you have a sharp mind!
Increased Exercise Ability
You must breathe fully throughout the exercise. Unfortunately, respiratory issues can affect one ’s ability to breathe, impacting how well you perform. However, the impact of respiratory problems can be lessened, and respiratory function can be improved by sitting in a sauna. Additionally, it can boost blood flow by increasing nitric oxide synthesis, a vasodilator that can widen blood vessels and improve workouts.
You may use stress as motivation to fulfill deadlines and accomplish goals. However, excessive stress might keep you in the fight-or-flight position. This reaction should only last a few minutes to get you out of any danger your body detects before you begin to calm down.
But because of how hectic today’s society is, we are continuously in this condition, producing stress hormones like cortisol. Weight gain is correlated with these hormones. Simply put, when you’re under stress, your body perceives you as being in danger and stores fat as a form of defense. Additionally, persistent stress may result in an inflammatory reaction.
Saunas provide a chance to unwind and reduce tension. They make you take deep breaths and let go of stress, which might help you escape the fight-or-flight mode. In addition, your body begins to produce less cortisol as you get calmer. These elements can all help you lose weight.
The lymphatic fluid that makes up our perspiration aids the body’s toxin removal. Therefore, when you sweat, your body releases waste products. Sadly, the typical individual does not sweat enough to detox in this manner effectively.
However, you sweat heavily and release a lot of toxins when you do so in a sauna. Additionally, this helps eliminate your body’s heavy metals like nickel, lead, mercury, copper, and zinc.
Your body is better equipped to burn fat when you detox and clean up your lymphatic system, and you also get a significant increase in energy. This might encourage you to exercise more, speeding up losing weight.
Water Weight Loss
You sweat a lot in saunas because they are so hot. Therefore, you could see the scale moving down after a successful sauna session since losing this extra water can lead to weight loss. The loss of water weight is temporary, though, and you will regain most of it after you rehydrate by drinking water.
You may benefit from this. For example, saunas might be helpful if you need to lose weight rapidly to accomplish a short-term objective. For example, maybe you have clothing you need to fit into for a function this evening, or you have a weight need for a sporting event.
Boosted Calorie Burn
Increased temperature causes an increase in metabolic rate, which increases calorie burn. Expecting to sit in a sauna for several hours and burn hundreds of calories is unrealistic. The burn is more of a tiny bump to your average calorie burn while you are inactive. Additionally, using a sauna causes a heart rate rise of at least 30%, increasing energy expenditure and calorie burn.
For the duration of the session, multiply your basal metabolic rate (BMR) by 1.5 to get the number of calories you’ll burn. For instance, you should anticipate burning roughly 45 calories throughout a 30-minute sauna session if your BMR shows a daily calorie burn of 1440: (1440 ÷ 48) x 1.5 = 45
The boost is especially advantageous if you use a sauna after working out because it extends the advantages of exercise even after you leave the gym. Whether or not you exercise, the rise in metabolic rate you experience after exiting the sauna gives you a boost in calorie burn all day long.
Helpful Tips For Using Sauna Safely In Weight Loss
1. Drink plenty of water before and after your sauna session. This will help replenish the fluids that you lose through sweating.
2. Make sure the sauna is not too hot. The temperature should be between 60 and 80 degrees Celsius. Start with a lower temperature and work your way up gradually. This will help your body acclimate to the heat and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.
3. Don’t stay in the sauna for too long at first. You can stay in the sauna for 15 minutes at a time. Begin with short sessions and gradually increase the length of time as you become more comfortable with the heat.
4. Pay attention to your body and how it responds to the heat. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, it’s time to get out of the sauna.
5. Cool down gradually after using the sauna. Give yourself at least 5 minutes to cool down before jumping into cold water or taking a shower. Do not use alcohol or drugs before or after using the sauna.
6. If you have any medical conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes, check with your doctor before using a sauna.
Different Types Of Sauna And How They Work
There are four main types of saunas: infrared, steam, wood-burning, and electric. Each class has unique benefits, so choosing the one that’s right for you is essential. Here’s a quick rundown of each type:
Infrared Saunas: Infrared saunas work by heating your body directly rather than heating the air around you. This makes them much more efficient than other types of saunas and means that you’ll start to feel the benefits after just a few minutes. Infrared saunas are also great for people with respiratory problems, as the heat is more accessible to tolerate than in a steam sauna.
Steam Saunas: Steam saunas work by heating water and using it to generate steam. The steam then fills up the room, making it nice and hot. Steam saunas are great for detoxifying your skin and opening up your pores, but they can be hard to breathe in if you have respiratory problems.
Wood-Burning Saunas: Wood-burning saunas are traditional Finnish saunas that use wood-fired stoves to heat rocks inside the sauna. The stones then radiate heat, making the room nice and hot. Wood-burning saunas take longer to heat up than other types of saunas, but they’re well worth the wait!
Electric Saunas: Electric saunas work by heating coils inside the room, radiating heat around the space. Electric saunas are very easy to use, as you can switch them on and off as you please. However, they can be expensive to run, using a lot of electricity.
Is It Possible to Sweat Off Weight?
Sweating is a way for your body to regulate its temperature. When your core temperature rises, your brain sends signals to your sweat glands to release sweat onto your skin. As that sweat evaporates, it helps to cool your body down and bring your temperature back to normal.
So, how does this relate to losing weight?
Well, when you sit in a sauna, your body has to work extra hard to cool itself down, producing more sweat. And since sweat is mostly water, it stands to reason that if you sweat enough, you can lose a significant amount of water weight.
Remember that water weight is not the same as fat weight. Water weight is simply the result of your body retaining fluid. It’s not uncommon for people carrying a lot of water weight to see a difference of 5-10 pounds on the scale after a session in the sauna. However, this difference is usually temporary, and the weight will come right back as soon as you rehydrate.
Dangers of Dehydration
When you sweat, your body loses water and electrolytes like sodium and potassium. If you don’t replace these electrolytes, you can become dehydrated. Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea. In severe cases, it can lead to organ damage and even death.
That’s why drinking plenty of fluids before and after spending time in the sauna is essential. Of course, water is always a good choice, but sports drinks or other beverages containing electrolytes are even better. And be sure to listen to your body; if you’re feeling thirsty, that’s a sign that you need to drink more fluids.
Signs of Dehydration
There are several signs that you may be dehydrated. They include:
- Dry mouth
- Dark urine
- Muscle cramps
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to rehydrate immediately. The best way to do this is to drink water or an electrolyte drink like Gatorade or Powerade. You should also take a break from your sauna session to cool down and give your body a chance to replenish its fluids.
Dangers in Heart Health
Saunas work by heating the body to a high temperature, causing sweating. This process can cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. For people with heart conditions, this can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
If you have any heart condition, it is best to avoid saunas altogether. However, if you must use a sauna, consult with your doctor first and follow their recommendations.
If you’re looking for an alternative method of relaxation that is safe for those with heart health issues, try one of these options:
- Get a massage
- Take a bath
- Practice yoga or meditation
- Go for a walk in nature
- Listen to calming music
- Spend time with friends or family members.
How Much Weight Can You Expect to Lose in a Sauna?
For every hour spent in the sauna, you can expect to sweat about 1 pound of water weight. This may not seem like much, but it can add up over time! If you use the sauna three times per week for 30 minutes each time, you can expect to lose about 9 pounds of water weight over three months. That’s not too shabby!
How Many Calories A Sauna Can Burn?
Some studies say you only burn 25 calories in 30 minutes, while others say you can burn up to 300. Most experts say that you’ll burn 1.5 to 2 times as many calories in a sauna as you would just spending time at room temperature.
About 3,500 calories are in one pound of food. So if you went to the sauna for 30 minutes every day and burned an extra 25 calories, it usually takes you 140 days to drop one pound. Even though that isn’t a perfect way to lose weight, it could help you with your other plans.
Still, let’s say you burn more calories than most people. If you go to the sauna every day and burn 300 calories, it will only take 12 days to drop a pound. As you can see, utilizing a sauna to lose weight is an unstable strategy with inconsistent outcomes. Instead of using saunas to lose weight, it’s better to use them for other health benefits.
Saunas may sound like a lot of fun and an excellent method for losing weight, but there are a few things you need to know before using a steam room or sauna to lose weight.
You can burn fat in a sauna, but it does nothing for your muscles. So to keep your muscles from sagging, slowly add strength training to your daily workouts. Since saunas and steam rooms make you more energetic, strength training and cardio won’t be as hard on you as they would be without the sauna.
Moreover, keeping yourself hydrated would help. But the sauna makes you lose water, making it harder to lose weight. So, put a pinch of salt in your water before or after you go to the sauna or steam room. It helps get the electrolytes back in balance.
Overall, saunas can be a helpful addition to your weight loss journey when used regularly. However, you must consult with your doctor first and follow their recommendations. Additionally, stay hydrated and replenish your electrolytes after each sauna session.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can sauna help you lose belly fat?
It is untrue that you may lose more weight by just sitting in a sauna. A sauna just briefly removes rapidly replaced water from the body, not helping you lose weight. Additionally, extreme heat causes your body to sweat, and perspiration can cause you to lose fluid, including water.
How long should I be in a sauna to lose weight?
15 to 20 minute. You should begin with 15 to 20-minute sessions a few times a week and work up to daily sessions to get the most out of the weight reduction advantages of a sauna. Buying a home sauna is the simplest method to do this.
How much weight can you lose in a 30-minute sauna?
This suggests that a 30-minute sauna session will result in you losing about two pounds of water weight, assuming they define a quick sauna session as 15 minutes. That weight will return immediately as you drink a few water glasses following your sauna session.
How long does it take to lose 2 pounds in a sauna?
A sauna will get a decent effect after around 15 to 20 minutes. In the sauna, you can shed roughly 2 pounds of water weight.