Can You Lose Weight By Simply Sitting In A Sauna?
Many people assume that they can use saunas to lose weight simply by “sweating it off”. While it is true that sauna usage will cause some immediate weight loss from sweating, it is simply water weight. This means that as soon as you start drinking water again, almost all of the weight that was lost will quickly return as your body re-hydrates.
While you can’t simply “sweat off weight”, saunas can still help you lose weight in a few more subtle ways.
Ways That Saunas Can Help With Weight Loss
Burning Extra Calories
While most of the weight loss that you will experience when sitting in a sauna is simply due to water loss through the sweating process, a small part of it is due to your body burning extra calories. Every basic function that your body performs, from digestion to breathing to sweating, requires energy (measured in calories). The more energy your body needs to perform these basic tasks, the more weight you will lose.
With that said, the weight loss that you will experience purely from burning a few extra calories when using the sauna is negligible. It can make a some difference over time, but you will still need to live a healthy, active lifestyle to really see the benefits.
The increase in metabolism (the rate at which you burn calories) that you experience when using a sauna doesn’t go away once you step out of the sauna. In fact, sauna usage has been shown to increase your metabolic rate by around 20% for several hours after you leave the sauna. This again won’t make a huge difference when it comes to weight loss, but can lead to small gains over time.
Easing Muscle Pain
One of the best ways that saunas can help in the weight loss process is by easing muscle pain experienced after a workout or other physical activity. This is because high heat in saunas helps to reduce muscle pain and reduce inflammation; allowing you to lead a healthier, more active lifestyle with less of the painful after-effects. There are a couple reasons for this.
- Firstly, heat helps to increase blood flow to your muscles, which can help aid in the recovery process.
- Your body produces more white blood cells when your body temperature increases, which can help to reduce swelling and inflammation.
How To Get The Most From Your Sauna
It’s important to remember how much you sweat when using a sauna. In fact, studies have shown that you can lose up to 1/2 litre of fluid in just 15-20 minutes of sauna usage! For this reason it is important to take regular short breaks and drink some water during longer sauna sessions. If you experience dry mouth, extreme thirst, dizziness, headaches or light headedness, you should leave the sauna immediately and re-hydrate.
Don’t Use The Sauna Immediately After An Intense Workout
While sauna use can be good after physical activity, according to some experts it is better to avoid using saunas immediately after intense workouts. This is because sitting in a sauna will keep your heart rate up and will therefore delay your body from starting its recovery process. Instead, they recommend letting your body naturally cool down and use the sauna later once your body has recovered. Using an ice pack on the sore area before using the sauna can also help relieve pain and reduce swelling.
Try Using The Sauna Before A Workout Instead
There are also some experts who recommend using a sauna for a few minutes before you start your workout to get your heart rate up, your muscles warmed up and provide some slight relief from any minor pain that you might be feeling.
Start Out Slow, Then Work Up
If you’re not used to using a sauna, we recommend starting slowly with shorter sessions, then moving up to longer ones as you get used to it. If you tend to be more sensitive to heat or suffer from light headedness, we recommend starting with 5 minute sessions with time between each that allow you to cool down a bit and rehydrate. Over time you can build up to 15-20 minute sessions.
While saunas aren’t the answer to someone looking for a way to quickly and easily lose a lot of weight, they can help long term weight loss strategies. If you’d like to learn more about saunas, or sauna ownership, contact one of our sauna experts today!
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