Many gyms nowadays have a sauna, or a steam room, as an added membership perk. Saunas are known for helping you lose weight, detoxification, increased metabolism, stress reduction and increased exercise capacity. However, not all gyms have a sauna, and those that do usually charge more for a membership. For that reason, a frequently asked question many people have is: do saunas really help you lose weight?
Saunas help you lose water weight. Due to the intense heat, you sweat and lose excess water that is stored in your body. In just one single session, you can lose up to five pounds. However, as soon as you rehydrate, most of that weight will come back. Therefore, saunas are not a “quick fix” for weight loss.
In this article, we will discuss whether a sauna helps you lose weight, how much weight you can lose from a sauna, the pros and cons of a sauna, and more. Keep reading to learn more!
- Does Sweating in A Sauna Help You Lose Weight?
- 5 Tips to Lose Weight with a Sauna
- Does Using a Sauna After a Workout Help With Weight Loss?
- Are There Any Risks with Using a Sauna After a Workout?
- Pros and Cons of Using a Sauna
- Does a Sauna Suit Help You Lose Weight?
- Safety Tips for Using a Sauna
Does Sweating in A Sauna Help You Lose Weight?
The intense heat in a sauna causes you to sweat and therefore lose excess water that is stored in your body, which is called water weight. However, it’s important to note that as soon as you start to rehydrate, most of the water weight you lost in the sauna will come back.
That can cause frustration, so let’s break it down and discuss exactly how long it would take for you to lose 1 to 5 pounds in a sauna.
*It’s important to note that the longer you stay in the sauna, the more you risk dehydration. So, as a general rule, it is recommended to keep your sauna sessions to 15-30 minutes.
Do Saunas Help You Lose Stomach Fat?
We just learned that saunas could help you lose water weight, but what about belly fat?
Although saunas can help you burn a few extra calories and shed some water weight, they are not an effective tool for real weight loss. If you are looking to lose belly fat, there is no quick fix. The best way to lose weight and keep it off is through a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine.
Don’t let that discourage you from taking advantage of your gym’s sauna, though. After all, they provide more health benefits aside from water weight loss.
Do Saunas Help You Lose Face Fat?
You might think the answer is no because we just established that saunas are not effective tools for real weight loss, but you’d be surprised.
If you are looking to slim your face down a bit, enjoying sometime in the sauna would benefit you. As we discussed, saunas help our bodies get rid of excess water that we do not need.
What many of us don’t realize is that we can show that in our face, not just our bellies. Therefore, saunas can be an effective tool for losing face fat.
5 Tips to Lose Weight with a Sauna
If you are looking to use a sauna to help with weight loss, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Try different types of saunas. There are 4 different types of saunas – a wood burning sauna, an electrically heated sauna, an infrared sauna, and a steam room. All of them can help with weight loss, it simply comes down to personal preference.
- Do not overdo it. When you are trying to lose weight, it can be tempting to sit in the sauna for long periods of time in order to lose the most weight. However, the longer you stay in the sauna the greater your risk becomes for dehydration and other potentially fatal conditions. Therefore, it is best to not exceed 20 minutes in the sauna.
- Allow it to flush out toxins. When you are trying to lose weight, you are trying to lower inflammation in the body and get rid of toxins naturally. The intense heat in the sauna will make your body sweat and therefore help flush out toxins.
- Let it help increase your metabolism. When your body is exposed to intense heat like it is in the sauna, it has to work much harder and therefore increases your heart rate. This boosts your metabolism and helps you burn more calories.
- Use it for stress release. Most people probably do not realize that spending some time in the sauna can be very therapeutic. Many people who are struggling with weight loss are under a lot of stress, which keeps them in “fight or flight mode,” which causes their body to hold on to every ounce of fat it has in order to protect itself. So, sit back, relax, put on some relaxing music and enjoy sweating it up in the sauna.
Does Using a Sauna After a Workout Help With Weight Loss?
Many people who use a sauna choose to use it after their workout is complete. The weight you lose in the sauna is water weight, not belly fat.
Although, being in the intense heat of a sauna does cause your heart rate to go up, which can help you burn more calories. However, this effect is very small and likely will not have a huge impact on total calories burned.
Keep in mind that if you are working on a holistic diet and exercise plan, the sauna can be a beneficial component.
Are There Any Risks with Using a Sauna After a Workout?
No matter what type of sauna you use, you are exposing your body to intense heat. As a result of that, there are many risks that come with using a sauna. Those risks include:
- Dehydration. When your body gets overheated, you sweat. When you sweat, you lose fluids. If you lose more fluids than you are taking in, you become dehydrated. For this reason, you need to make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids when using a sauna.
- Blood pressure risks. A sauna can cause your blood pressure to fall. Therefore, people with low blood pressure should talk to their doctor before using a sauna.
- Hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is an abnormally high body temperature caused by a failure of the heat-regulating mechanisms in your body to deal with the heat in the environment. Prolonged exposure to intense heat can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be fatal.
Pros and Cons of Using a Sauna
There are many pros to using a sauna, but there are also a few cons. It is important to weigh them both before deciding whether or not to use one.
1. Respiratory Health
Studies have shown that regular sauna use can be good for the lungs. If you have healthy lungs, using the sauna several times per week can help keep them healthy and prevent disease. However, those with respiratory issues can also reap the benefits of a sauna. Researchers have found that saunas can help improve COPD, chronic bronchitis and asthma. Relaxing in the sauna can also help ease respiratory symptoms of a cold, flu and acute bronchitis.
2. Brain Health
The increased circulation surrounds the brain with nutrient-rich blood, and the shifts in the neurotransmitters and hormones improves the way the brain functions and responds to stress.
3. Immune Health
The intense heat of the sauna kicks production of white blood cells into high gear. White blood cells are what helps your body fight off illnesses.
4. Skin Health
The increased blood circulation to your pores dilates them to allow sweat to release. Sweat can help reduce blemishes and rashes. Just be sure to shower after spending time in the sauna to wash away excess residue and leave your skin softer, smoother and healthier.
The intense heat in the sauna causes your body to sweat. When you sweat, you lose fluids. When you lose more fluids than you are taking in, you can become dehydrated.
2. Danger to Unborn Babies
Anything that raises the body temperature can potentially cause harm to an unborn baby. If you are pregnant and considering using a sauna, be sure to talk to your doctor first.
3. Decrease in Sperm Production
The intense heat of a sauna has been linked to a decrease in sperm production. Although sperm production does recover, it can take up to five weeks. Therefore, men who are actively trying to have children should avoid using a sauna.
Does a Sauna Suit Help You Lose Weight?
If you do not know what a sauna suit is, it is basically a waterproof tracksuit that retains your body heat and perspiration when you work out while wearing it. Before you run out and buy one, it is important to know the pros and cons.
The companies that sell sauna suits claim that the benefits include weight loss and detoxification through sweat. However, there is no clinical research to back up their claims.
Remember, your kidneys and liver are your body’s best detoxifiers. Sweating only releases traces of toxins. Therefore, if your plan is to use a sauna suit for rapid weight loss, you may be doing your body more harm than good.
According to the CDC, using techniques such as sauna suits for rapid weight loss can have a negative effect on thermal regulation, cardiovascular function, hydration, electrolyte balance and so much more. Those effects can lead to potentially fatal conditions such as hyperthermia, dehydration and more.
Safety Tips for Using a Sauna
If you choose to use a sauna, make sure to follow these safety tips:
- Limit yourself to 15 minutes.
- Drink plenty of fluids while in the sauna to avoid dehydration.
- Leave the sauna immediately if you experience nausea, dizziness, hot flashes, chills, headaches or any other discomfort.