Can Sauna Aid Weight Loss? How Does It Work?
Well, looks like you can get in shape by relaxing in this "steamy" room!
Sauna (sow-nah) or steam bath can help you shed inches off your waist. Sauna for weight loss is a growing trend. This traditional Finnish bath at 150-195° F is proven to aid weight loss (1). Research shows that a sauna can be directly compared to a moderate-intensity workout (2). This means you will work out without moving an inch, relax, and enjoy a beautifying bath. Is not that the dream? Read on to know how sauna aids weight loss, how many calories can sauna burn per session, and precautions to take. Read on to get all the details. Scroll down!
In This Article
Can Sauna Help With Weight Loss?
Yes, sauna may help you lose weight. Read on to know how.
- Acts As A Detoxifier
The heat of the sauna makes you sweat more, which helps you get rid of toxins easily (3). This is healthy, especially if you do not workout regularly (or at all!) or stay indoors all day long in low temperature conditioned air.
Sweating will also help flush out heavy metals like nickel, mercury, copper, and zinc that are absorbed via the foods you eat. (4). As a result, you will start losing weight by burning the fat effectively.
- Helps Lose Water Weight
Water weight can contribute up to 5 pounds of your total weight. And it takes about seven days to lose the water weight with 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.
- Reduces Stress
A sauna can be described as the most relaxing bath. It helps reduce stress and lowers the cortisol levelsi XCortisol regulates your mood, sleep cycle and blood sugar. Higher levels can cause rapid weight gain, muscle weakness and diabetes. in the body (5).
When you relax by taking a bath in the sauna, the cortisol levels drop, and so do inflammation and the harmful free oxygen levels. This reduces the chances of inflammation-induced weight gain.
- Aids Muscle Recovery
Many athletes rely on sauna to help their muscles recover from a strenuous workout or exertion. A study confirms that sauna before exercise helps improve muscle function and reduces sensory impairment (6).
- Improves Stamina
Ever felt out of breath too soon while working out or even climbing up the stairs? Well, the sauna can help tackle that problem. It improves your breathing capacity, increases respiratory function and production of the vasodilator nitric oxidei XAs a vasodilator, nitric oxide relaxes the inner muscles of the blood vessels and promotes circulation by allowing them to open wider. , and reduces respiratory problems.
A study found that sauna bathing helped runners improve running time (endurance or stamina) by 32% (7).
- Boosts Metabolic Rate
Reduced stress, inflammation, and toxins help improve your metabolic rate (8), (9). After a couple of hours out of the bath, your metabolism will be up and running at a higher rate. This is how you can lose weight in a sauna.
- Improves Heart Function And Circulation
The high temperatures in the sauna allow your heart rate to increase. This, in turn, improves blood circulation, skin health, sleep, and immunity (5).
- Lowers Blood Pressure
Sauna also helps lower hypertension or high blood pressure (10). But people with low BP and arrhythmiai XAn irregular, abnormally rapid, or slow heartbeat that occurs when the electrical impulses in the heart don't function properly. should avoid sauna bathing.
Main Idea: Sauna aids weight loss by eliminating toxins, lowering inflammation and high BP, relaxing the muscles, and reducing stress.
Now, the main question is, how many calories can you really expect to burn? Find out in the next section.
How Many Calories Can You Burn In A Sauna?
The number of calories you can burn is calculated using this formula:
Calories burned in a sauna = Number of calories burned in 30 min of sitting or resting * 1.5 (and 2)
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.
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.
Main Idea: Schedule your sauna bath appointments twice or thrice a week. Start moderate intensity workouts in the second week. Add strength training to your routine to lose weight and tone up.
Before you book your appointment, you must know that there are different types of saunas. Here’s what they are called, how they appear, and how they work.
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.
Saunas may sound fun and a great way to lose weight, but here’s what you must keep in mind while using sauna for weight loss.
- Sauna helps you burn fat but does nothing about the muscles. To tone the muscles and prevent sagging, you must gradually incorporate strength training into your workout routine. Since sauna will help improve your stamina, cardio or strength training will not cause as much exertion as it would have without the sauna.
- You must keep yourself hydrated. Sauna causes too much dehydration, which may inhibit weight loss.
- Add a pinch of salt to your drinking water before or after your sauna bath to rebalance the electrolytes (11).
Infographic: 5 Ways Sauna Helps You Lose Weight
Who knew a relaxing steam bath could offer so many health benefits? This ancient Finnish practice may play a key role in shedding those extra pounds without any effort. To help you out, we have listed the five ways a sauna can help you shed those stubborn pounds. Check out the infographic below to find out more.
Sauna is essentially a type of steam bath that can be compared to a moderately intense exercise session. Many individuals opt to take a sauna for weight loss as it works effectively to detoxify the body, eliminate stress, and facilitate the loss of water weight. In addition, regular sauna sessions can help to reduce inflammation in the body, lower blood pressure and relax the muscles. You can lose around 1.5 times the calories your body burns at rest when you take a sauna bath. However, it can cause dehydration and does not help tone the muscles, so limit sauna baths to thrice a week and incorporate light exercise including strength training for optimum results.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much weight do you lose in a sauna?
You can lose anywhere between 2-5 pounds, depending on your age, height, weight, sauna duration, etc.
How often should I use the sauna to lose weight?
You may use it twice every week for 15-20 weeks to lose weight.
How long to sit in sauna to lose weight?
About 15-20 minutes in sauna will give you good results.
How much water weight can you lose in a sauna?
You can lose about 2 pounds of water weight in sauna.
Is a sauna good for losing weight?
Yes, it is good for weight loss, but you must eat healthily and exercise to make it work.
Is it healthy to have a sauna every day?
Avoid going to the sauna every day. You can go for it once in every two days initially and then reduce the visits to twice or once a week.
How long is it safe to sit in a sauna?
How much weight can you lose in one day?
You will not lose weight in a single day.
Do saunas help you detox?
Yes, sauna is a great way to detox and feel refreshed.
Does a sauna help lose belly fat?
Anecdotal evidence suggests that a sauna may help you lose water weight around the abdominal region. However, more research is warranted. It is only with regular exercise and a balanced diet that one can lose weight properly.
- “Sauna-induced body mass loss in young sedentary women and men.” TheScientificWorldJournal, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “The effect of sauna bathing on lipid profile in young, physically active, male subjects.” International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Blood, urine, and sweat (BUS) study: monitoring and elimination of bioaccumulated toxic elements.” Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “The excretion of trace metals in human sweat.” Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Science, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Prophylactic Effects of Sauna on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness of the Wrist Extensors” Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Effect of post-exercise sauna bathing on the endurance performance of competitive male runners.” Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport/Sports Medicine Australia, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Sauna bathing and systemic inflammation.” European Journal of Epidemiology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Obesity and inflammation: the effects of weight loss.” Nutrition Research Reviews, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Benefits and risks of sauna bathing.” The American Journal of Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- “Fluid and electrolyte supplementation for exercise heat stress” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, American Society for Nutrition.