Do Saunas Help You Lose Weight?

Written by:

Obi Obadike

Obi Obadike

Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert, CFT, SFN, M.S. Founder & CEO – Ethical Inc.
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Do saunas help you lose weight? If you see some of the marketing ads for saunas, they will make you believe that you can get in the best shape possible just jumping in their sauna. Any weight loss that happens in a sauna is water loss not fat loss and that is the significant difference.

So, once you start drinking water after you are done with the sauna that water weight loss comes back. All you are doing is sweating off water weight so the illusion is you are losing bodyfat, but it is just water loss. So, a sauna is not an effective weight loss strategy whatsoever.

Do Saunas help you lose weight? Photo credit: iStock-Taras Grebinets

A sauna is popular and found in many gyms across the country. The temperature of sauna is between 150 Fahrenheit and 195 Fahrenheit. The normal timeframe that someone should be in a sauna is about 20 minutes to 30 minutes.

Some of the most common types of saunas are:

  • Steam rooms- This is known as a Turkish bath house and the temperature is low and the humidity is high.
  • Infrared- The sauna uses light waves to heat your body without the room being warmed.
  • Electric Heated Sauna- An electric heater is mounted on the floor or wall to heat the room.
  • Wood burning stoves are used to heat sauna rocks.

If you lose too much fluid that you are taking in, then you could be exposed to extreme dehydration. So, you can get dehydrated by being in a sauna too long and not drinking enough fluids.

Some of the signs of dehydration:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Feeling Dizzy
  • Headache
  • Dryness in your mouth
  • Not urinating as normally as you do

People are told that if you have heart issues like high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat to avoid using the sauna. People that are on heart medications should check with their healthcare provider before using a sauna. The high heat from a sauna can cause your blood vessels to open and move closer to the skin’s surface. When your blood vessels expand, your circulation improves, and your blood pressure gets lower.

According to Harvard Health Publications the average person loses a pint of sweat during the short time in a sauna. One of the best ways to avoid dehydration by using the sauna is to make sure you drink enough water that will help you stay hydrated.

Please do not think that using a sauna is an appropriate method of being on a weight loss program despite what many sauna companies push in their marketing. It is not a suitable weight loss program as the only weight you lose by being in a sauna is water weight.

Following a sensible diet and exercise program should always be the most advisable health and wellness approach.

The American Heart Association recommends against moving between extreme hot and cold temperatures because it can raise your blood pressure.

There are studies in Finland, Japan and Germany that vouch for the health benefits of using a sauna. While sitting in a sauna if the temperature is at 190 Fahrenheit, then it is relatively safe. If you are pregnant or have a chronic health condition like diabetes, kidney disease or heart failure then contact a health care provider first before using it.

“Any weight loss that happens in a sauna is water loss not fat loss and that is the significant difference.” Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert Obi Obadike

The Bottom Line is if you use a sauna regularly any little weight loss that happens from this is because you lost water weight not bodyfat loss. Once you replenish that water loss by hydrating yourself you gain that water loss back. Using a sauna is safe and healthy provided you are hydrated and don’t have any chronic health condition.

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