Before we discuss about does sauna burn calories? we should understand how it works?
Sauna is a cabin heated at temperatures of about 90 to 194 F (32 – 90 C), depending on what type of sauna you want to use. Basically, all of them affect the human body in the same way, even if the temperature and humidity levels vary.
Most Popular Types of Sauna.
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Infrared sauna- Infrared sauna working theory is based on using light waves to heat the human body without heating the cabin.
Wooden sauna – This is a traditional sauna. A rock is placed on wood burning stove and it is heated to rich high temperatures. The moisture level of inside is very low.
Steam Room (Turkish Bathroom) – It is about 100% air moisture providing space, while the temperature is low.
Electrical hot sauna – That type of sauna uses an electric heater, placed on the wall or floor to heat the cabin. It provides high temperatures with low level humidity.
Does Sauna Burn Calories?
Yes. But here, you’re not building muscle, you’re not burning calories. You’re actually only losing water. Basically, it is not water, you are sweating which actually make it difficult to lose weight.
The weight you lose when you sit in a sauna is purely water, but make sure your body is enough hydrated, otherwise severely dehydration can happen. Taking sauna without sufficient hydration is unhealthy and actually makes it difficult for your body to lose pounds permanently, as hydration is an essential component to lose extra weight.
In fact, use of sauna is not an effective way to lose weight if you want a rapid weight loss. For example, if you want a rapid weight loss for an event or trying to lose weight to wear a particular dress, then such method is useless.
Persistent, moderately healthy habits are important for losing weight and keeping it away. Do your best to avoid extreme and quick fixes as they are usually either a scam, unhealthy, or a temporary solution.
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Truth About Sauna for Weight Loss.
To lose weight, exercise is much better and effective than sauna. While exercising you put stress on your body that promote temperature regulation/metabolism.
When you push your body into vigorous physical activity, your body metabolism stops and tries to adjust body temperature, and all muscles are triggered to work together, and your heart rate increases. Which burns calories!
More than sitting in a hot steam room or sauna, high intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training are excellent, scientifically researches stated that it enhance your body metabolism slowly over a period of time.
Is Water Loss Similar To Weight Loss?
The fact is that your body works harder to maintain its temperature when you are sitting in a sauna. This increases the number of calories you can burn. However, the difference will not vary much.
For example, an average person weighing 185 pounds (84 kg) will sit in front of the TV for 15 minutes and burn 21 calories. The same man will burn about 30 to 40 calories at the same time in sauna. However, more researches are still going in this particular matter.
When you see that you have lost some weight just after the session in sauna, you can assume that you have actually lost water from the body, not fat. According to research by Harvard Medical School, you may lose about 1 pint (0.47 litres) of water while sitting in the sauna for a short time.(1)
Unfortunately, once you drink some glass of water after the session, you will regain the weight you had lose. On the other hand, if you go with infrared or traditional saunas, you can lose weight for long term. Additionally, a hard workout along with a healthy balanced diet will help a lot to lose weight.
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How To Calculate How Many Calories You Can Lose In Sauna?
Nowadays, it is not very difficult to accurately determine how many calories you can lose while using sauna. There are many excellent calorie burn calculators are available in the net.
The equation is not very complex, and you can quickly guess how many calories you can burn during each session.
Sit in the sauna for 30 minutes and multiply the calories you can burn by 1.5. The result will vary depending upon your body weight and temperature in the sauna.
Number of calories burnt while sitting x 1.5 for 30 minutes = number of calories burnt while sitting in sauna for 30 minutes.
It is an average calorie number that you may lose, but it can also be higher. If you want to know how many calories you can burn during the session, you should multiply the number of calories burned in the same period by two.
30 min x 2 Number of calories burned when sitting = number of calories burned while sitting in sauna for 30 min.
However, the numbers you get represent a standard range of calories that can be burned by the human body in sauna. How many calories you can burn during that period depends on:
Let’s see what looks like in a concrete example when you use a basal metabolic rate calculator for this purpose.
On an average, a 30-year-old woman weighing 5 feet, 5 inches (165 centimeters) tall, weighing 150 pounds (68 kg) has 1,492 calories. That is, about 31 calories per 30 minutes.
If you use the BMR calculator, you will see that this woman will sit in the sauna for half an hour and burn 46.5 to 62 calories.
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Be Careful While Trying To Lose Weight In Sauna.
Sauna is effective and usually harmless if you follow the instructions of use and take care of yourself. The most serious problem is that people who start using saunas can face dehydration.
Since beginner often wish to gain benefits and lose weight as soon as possible, they can put their body at risk. Always keep in mind that excessive heat causes excessive sweating, which means you will lose too much fluid.
If the loss of fluid is much higher than intake, you can become dehydrated. Therefore, you should drink enough water before entering the sauna, as well as during and after the session.
If you recognize any of these symptoms of dehydration, ask for emergency therapy:
- Low frequency of urination.
- Dryness in the mouth.
- Excessive thirst.
- To feel giddy.
Also, if you are pregnant or suffering from following chronic conditions, then you should be extremely careful when using sauna:
- Heart disease.
- Kidney disease. These conditions can accelerate the presence of dehydration.
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Therefore, it can be said that even though sauna helps to burn calories but it is not that much effective as it is losing weight through sweat. Beside sauna it is necessary to do proper workout along with balance diet to lose weight and maintain a fit and healthy body.
Experienced in the field of nutrition, health, fitness, and more. She earned Master Degree from National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad and currently serving in the Eastern branch of ICMR. View author’s certificates.