The Internet is the source of too many lies to be weighed on any scale here on earth, but if we could it would be in megatons. One of those lies: sauna weight loss.
There is so much misinformation; in fact, that some sites claim you can burn up to 1000 calories in under a minute, just from sitting around in some steam. Okay, to answer the question, do sauna burn calories, inherently, yes, but it’s not that simple.
Why it’s really unlikely
Sure, it sounds nice, sitting on your bum for thirty minutes and using an average of 33.3 calories per minute, but that’s all it is – pure fantasy.
If you run the treadmill and have ever watched the readout, you’ll know that even burning a steady rate of 14 calories per minute is extremely difficult to maintain. Why should it be any easier for someone in a sauna?
The main claim that’s constantly thrown around is that it causes your body to struggle in order to maintain its preferred temperature. This, in turn, causes the metabolism to kick into full overdrive, thus utilizing those precious calories.
There is some truth to that, but in no way would that ever make you use up any more than twice the rate of calories, for doing exactly what it is that you do in a sauna; sitting.
How many calories do you burn in a sauna?
Here’s a simple equation you can use to estimate out how many calories are burned in a sauna:
Number of calories burned in 30 minutes of sitting =
(specific bodyweight) x 1.5 (possibly x 2) (calories burned)
For example, a healthy female of roughly 185 pounds will burn about 42 calories in a 30 minutes sitting.
To find the number that this very individual will burn while sitting in a sauna, multiply those calories by 1.5 and 2 and get a rough estimate. In this case, she would burn around 63 to 84 calories, a significant difference from the 300 to 1000 estimate! Does sauna burn calories? Yeah, just not in the way that you may have thought.
Does sauna burn fat, and more importantly, Can You Lose Weight in a Sauna or Steam Room?
Once again, Yes. But here’s the catch – you’re not building any muscle, you aren’t burning a significant rate of calories, and essentially, you’re really only losing water weight. In addition, not replacing the water you are sweating out will actually make it harder for your body to lose weight.
The weight that you lose while you sit in a sauna room is purely water. The very water that you should, in fact, be replacing as fast as you are losing, otherwise, you’ll just severely dehydrate your body. Not practicing proper hydration while you’re in one of these sweltering boxes is unhealthy and in the long run, makes it tougher for your body to lose pounds permanently. Don’t forget – hydration is an essential component in shedding extra weight.
The idea of a sauna for weight loss is so bad, in fact, that you shouldn’t even use it in extremely temporary instances. Say, for example, you wanted to shed some weight fast for an event or so you can fit in a dress, you would feel terrible (nausea), maybe even look horrible if you’d used a sauna for that intent without rehydrating your body thereafter.
The Final Verdict on Do Sauna Burn Calories
You’re much better off with real exercise. While exercising, you create a true temperature regulation/metabolic effect on your body; when you push your body to the limits with physical activity, your metabolism is stressed, and it tries to regulate body temperature. What’s more, all your muscles are called upon to function in unison, in the process elevating your heart rate. That, my friend, is how calories are burned, not sitting in some hot steam room!
Of course, we’re not against saunas, far from it. Join the league of people who make sitting in a hot box a fundamental part of their workout routine, if you so wish.
There are debatably a lot of health benefits to be gained from it, just make sure that your main objective is not only to lose weight; the calories burned in those sitting sessions are hardly substantial, you aren’t really burning fat, and you are not building muscle.
In closing, enjoying a sauna or steam room in moderation (of course, with approval from your doctor) is not a bad addition to a fitness routine. It’s actually quite enjoyable and serves as a beautiful treat after a demanding workout.
Just remember, do sauna burn calories? Yes. Just don’t start believing that it’s attributing a noteworthy amount of calories burned to your total, or that it will help you lose weight that you won’t re-drink in the next hour or two.