For the run of the mill working professional or athlete, a steamy sauna session can be the ideal way to unwind after a long day. The highly sought-after feeling of relaxation is typically why saunas are used, but a growing number of people see steam rooms as an easy way to lose weight.
HOW CAN A SAUNA HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT?
It’s no secret that sitting in a hot room can indeed help with weight loss, but it’s not as simple as it seems. The numbers on the scale can immediately decrease after some significant time in a traditional sauna, but this will more than likely be due to you losing water weight.
Despite coming in a variety of styles with unique mechanisms, all saunas serve the primary function of inducing heavy sweating. Regular dry sauna bathing, for example, increases the heart rate and makes the blood vessels expand by heating the air around the user, making your body work harder to adapt to the conditions, which, in turn, can lead to weight loss.
HOW LONG SHOULD YOU STAY IN A SAUNA TO LOSE WEIGHT?
As tranquil as they may be, it’s important to remember that sitting in a sauna for a prolonged period does present certain risks, the number one being dehydration. To avoid dehydration, drink a moderate amount of cold water before your sauna session and limit the duration to between 10-15 minutes. Doing this will ensure both safe and effective weight loss.
With that in mind, you don’t need to spend long in a sauna to kick-start your weight loss journey. Just 15-20 minutes is long enough – do this a few times a week and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier lifestyle.
TIPS FOR USING A SAUNA TO LOSE WEIGHT
Saunas offer some lesser-known health benefits which can have a positive effect on weight loss. Here are some of the ways you can use a sauna to help you achieve a healthy weight.
WATER WEIGHT LOSS
One of the more immediate effects of the steam room is the loss of water weight. After sitting in a sauna for a reasonable amount of time, your body will look to lose excess water stored in a bid to cool you down. Although this tends to be useful in terms of shedding a few kilograms, the water weight will more than likely be replaced as you rehydrate.
Sweating is an often overlooked way of ridding your body of the invisible toxins absorbed through the environment. Most daily activities do not produce much body sweat, so the high heat of a steam room can be an easy method of producing enough sweat to flush out impurities. A clean system gives the body more energy for exercise and accelerates the weight loss process.
Much like a machine, your heart has to work harder to regulate your body temperature when exposed to excessive heat. The benefit of this is an increase in your metabolic rate or the speed at which you are burning calories. The more calories you burn, the more weight you lose. These effects, like that of water weight loss, are temporary and wear off after a few hours.
A DECREASE IN STRESS LEVELS
Stress can be extremely harmful to your weight loss journey because the body’s built-in alarm system triggers the release of cortisol when under tension, causing cravings for high-calorie foods, which, if acted upon, could lead to weight gain. Saunas help to reduce stress by easing you into a relaxed state and promoting the production of endorphins, the happy hormone.
For anyone seeking to push their workouts to the limit, a regular sauna session could be the answer you’ve been looking for. Extreme heat causes an increase in blood flow, which results in increased respiratory function, meaning you can work out longer while maintaining a healthy weight.
DOES THE TYPE OF SAUNA HAVE AN INFLUENCE ON YOU LOSING WEIGHT?
Regular sauna users will know that different saunas offer different ways to relax, but for first-timers or those thinking about purchasing one, selecting an option can be confusing.
The type of heating system can indeed influence the way weight loss occurs and may present different benefits for different users. For example, an infrared sauna uses infrared rays to heat your body without heating the surrounding air, whereas a traditional sauna warms the air.
Infrared saunas have grown in popularity because they tend to cause reactions similar to that of moderate exercise and research has shown they are of great benefit to those looking to control high blood pressure.
Choosing between a traditional, infrared, or electrically heated sauna, could depend on factors such as cost and convenience, but all can result in measurable weight loss if used correctly.
HOW MUCH WEIGHT CAN YOU LOSE IN A SAUNA IN 30 MINUTES?
Research has shown that a 30-minute sauna session can cause you to lose just under one kilogram of water weight. While that may be a disappointing statistic to some, the reality is that saunas are not a complete substitute for actual exercise, but they can help improve your ability to exercise and ultimately shed a more significant amount of weight.
HOW MANY CALORIES ARE BURNED IN A SAUNA?
Determining calorie burn from a sauna session can get quite technical, so it’s important to bear in mind that calorie burn can be subject to the type of sauna you use in addition to aspects of human physiology such as weight, height, age, and gender.
On average, every ml of sweat you produce can burn up to 0.5 calories so 500ml of sweat lost can be 250 calories burned.
IS A SAUNA OR STEAM ROOM BETTER FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
Although similar, steam rooms and saunas differ in terms of their heat-generating mechanisms. Steam rooms, otherwise known as Turkish bathhouses, produce a low temperature and high humidity environment, whereas traditional saunas generate dry heat and low humidity.
The humidity of a steam room will make you sweat more and the dry heat of a sauna will increase blood circulation, much like cardiovascular exercise, but, ultimately, both have similar weight loss benefits.
The health benefits of saunas can’t be ignored; they can provide a stress-free way to help you lose weight and burn calories and can even bring about joint pain relief. With all the options on the market, your greatest difficulty will more than likely be choosing a sauna that works for you.
Before booking a session, always consult with your physician, as people with underlying health conditions, such as kidney disease or high blood pressure, may not be able to use saunas safely.
If you’re already a seasoned sauna user who’s now looking to lose some weight, be sure to hydrate before sessions and not overdo it.