Have you ever wondered if sweating it out in a sauna could be your secret calorie-burning weapon? Well, it is about time you spiced up your fitness game, and saunas could be the twist you will never regret adding!
Saunas have long been regarded as a luxury and are well-known for their relaxation and rejuvenation properties. Saunas are now considered an unconventional method for better health and weight loss. Today, they are widely used in fitness centers all over the world and even in some people’s homes.
Calories burned in saunas can even sometimes exceed those burned in a regular workout session. A sauna offers relaxation and some health benefits that may surprise you. The time you spend in the sauna can also contribute to burning extra calories.
From sizzling saunas to your calorie count, this article steps into the heat to reveal how much of a workout your body gets when you relax in that cozy wooden room. So grab your towel and get ready to sweat – not just the small stuff, but calories too!
How Many Calories Do You Burn in a Sauna for 30 Minutes?
How many calories you burn in a sauna session is dependent on a variety of factors, including weight, age, metabolism, and resting heart rate. In addition, the type of sauna, the frequency of sessions, and the time chosen for the sauna can also impact calorie loss.
How Does a Sauna Work?
Saunas increase your heart rate and cause profuse sweating. Your body naturally cools itself by sweating, and this requires energy. As a consequence, saunas help burn calories.
Our bodies burn calories and generate energy that is essential for our basic body functioning. This is a natural mechanism within our bodies that operates 24/7. Whether we are sleeping, sitting, or exercising, we continue to burn calories (6).
When you have a healthy lifestyle and exercise regularly, the number of calories you burn in a day increases. It’s important to remember that you must consume fewer calories than you burn if your aim is to lose weight.
According to studies published in the National Library of Medicine, a pound of body fat contains anything between 3,436 and 3,752 calories (1). A person who weighs 150 pounds with 10 percent body fat will burn approximately 405 calories weekly, or approximately 54 calories for every 30-minute sauna session.
Generally, a dry sauna session results in approximately 30-90 calories being burned in 30 minutes (7). According to recent findings, an infrared sauna can burn between 400 and 600 calories in 30 minutes (4).
It is important to note that weight you lose in the sauna is only temporary because it is mainly water weight. Therefore, there are better options than a sauna if you want to achieve long-term weight loss.
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Do Saunas Actually Burn Calories?
Sitting in a sauna, your body works hard to cool itself due to the heat. To do so, your heart rate increases and your body sweats profusely. As a result, your body uses energy in the form of calories.
Saunas can help you burn calories, but the calories burned are relatively low in comparison to high-intensity exercises. However, saunas can be a useful addition to your fitness routine when combined with regular exercise (4).
Calories burned while sitting in a sauna are mainly water weight. If you need to shed a few pounds quickly for a specific reason, such as if you want to look slim for a party or you’re in an athletic competition where competitors must weigh a certain amount, losing some water weight can be a quick fix (3).
How Many Calories Do You Burn Every 10 Minutes in a Sauna?
As discussed above, sitting in a sauna in a relaxed environment is a great option if you want to burn calories in a short period of time. You can modify the length of time you spend in the sauna according to your needs.
Calories burned in the sauna for 10 minutes vary from person to person, and the amount of calories you burn is dependent on individual factors. A person who weighs 150 pounds with 10 percent body fat will burn approximately 405 calories weekly or 18 calories every 10 minutes spent in a sauna (7).
According to research that was conducted at Binghamton University, regular sauna sessions can contribute to reduced body fat. This study found that individuals who participated in three weekly sauna sessions for four months experienced a decrease of up to 4% in body fat levels.
In addition, participants who undertook sauna weight loss sessions five days a week after 3pm for 30 minutes for 8 weeks experienced approximately twice the rate of fat loss than those who participated in three sessions (7).
This clearly demonstrates that the frequency of sitting in the sauna plays a vital role in shedding extra pounds in conjunction with other factors.
Is a Sauna Good for Losing Belly Fat?
Saunas can help you lose belly fat. They can burn some calories, reduce overall body fat, and eventually help reduce belly fat.
You must follow a healthy diet plan and exercise regularly if you want to lose belly fat effectively. Sauna sessions can help with overall fat loss as part of your fitness routine. The relaxation you feel during these steamy sessions can also positively impact your mind, which may inspire you to continue on your way to a healthier lifestyle (8).
Does Sauna Boost Metabolism?
While sitting in a sauna can increase heart rate and energy expenditure, it does not increase metabolism in the long term. One study highlighted that individuals who take regular saunas at least five times a week had a 25-33% increase in their metabolic rate, but this was only one day and results are likely to vary. This can lead to more calories burned in a day but it shouldn’t be relied on long-term (11).
The high metabolic rate can help your body lose weight and improve your well-being. When you follow this routine, you should increase your daily fluid intake as sauna bathing may cause dehydration due to excess sweating (4).
What Are the Benefits of a Sauna?
In addition to the calorie burn, saunas offer several health benefits:
According to a study conducted in 2017 on wrestlers, a 20-minute sauna session can lead to a reduction in cortisol levels. The cortisol hormone is commonly known as the stress hormone and can play a role in weight management (13). Therefore, calories burned is not the only benefit of a sauna – it can also help reduce stress.
In addition to the enjoyment and relaxation saunas offer, it has been noted that saunas may bring several health advantages for practitioners. These include a decreased risk of vascular diseases such as high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems. The heat from saunas dilates blood vessels, enhances blood flow, and potentially improves cardiovascular health (2).
Regular sauna sessions can help improve circulation, boost immunity, and increase sweating. While there is no evidence supporting the claim of detoxification with sauna use, there are other positive factors that certainly support optimal health (10).
Studies have found that sleep deprivation can lead to poorer dietary choices and overeating food portions. It can also amplify cravings for sugar and ultra-processed carbohydrates (12).
Saunas are a fantastic way of supporting the quality of your sleep. The extreme heat can help with muscle relaxation and lower cortisol levels, thereby improving your sleep cycles.
Improves Muscle Recovery and Prevents Illnesses
Saunas may support muscle recovery time. They are often adopted by athletes who want to recover from muscular soreness more quickly(14). Research has suggested that when the body gets rid of harmful substances and waste effectively, the immune system becomes stronger, and the body gets better at fighting off illnesses.
The health benefits of taking a sauna after a workout are also often discussed in fitness circles. The key is to craft a meaningful routine that benefits you the most.
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Do Cold Showers Burn Fat?
When you’re exposed to cold temperatures, your body generates heat, which uses up a bit of energy, including calories from fat. It should be noted that the amount of fat burned through cold showers is not a significant enough amount to use them as a primary weight loss method. Combining a balanced diet and regular exercise is much more effective for losing weight.
Some other perks of taking a cold shower include preventing illness, improving blood circulation, helping increase recovery time from muscle soreness, and improving your mood (5).
The Bottom Line
Saunas can be a relaxing and pleasant addition to your health and fitness routine. However, if you want to lose weight in the long run, you should add other exercises such as cardio, cycling, and moderate HIIT workouts to your routine.
In addition, the calories burned in the sauna are relatively low in comparison to other high-intensity weight loss exercises, but saunas shouldn’t be discarded from our fitness regimes altogether. The benefits of saunas are manifold: they can promote muscle relaxation, improve blood circulation, and contribute greatly to overall well-being.
The positive vibes saunas have on our bodies are worth sweating for!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is the sauna better than exercise?
Saunas and exercise serve different purposes and have unique benefits. It’s not about one being “better” than the other. Instead, you should choose a routine that best suits your fitness goals. However, regular exercise should be seen as your primary mode for fitness and health.
Calories burned in a sauna session vary depending on weight, age, and physique. On average, you can expect to burn approximately 30 to 90 calories in a 30-minute session.
Does the sauna burn fat?
Yes, saunas can help burn fat. When you’re in a sauna, your body works to cool down due to the excessive heat. This speeds up your heart rate and leads to profuse sweating. The process can contribute to fat loss when combined with exercise and appropriate food intake.
Is sauna good for the skin?
Yes, an infrared sauna can help improve your skin by improving blood flow and making you sweat. Better blood flow can potentially also help skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, burns, and cuts to get better.
What are the disadvantages of a sauna?
Saunas may cause heat stress, respiratory discomfort, dizziness, and dehydration. You can combat these problems by increasing your water intake and consulting a physician to devise a better approach.
Is it healthy to go to the sauna every day?
Using a sauna every day may not be the best idea for everyone. While saunas offer various health benefits, excessive sauna use can pose risks and potential negative effects.
Should you do cardio or sauna first?
If you want to do both cardio exercise and a sauna on the same day, the order in which you do them is important. Here’s what you should consider:
- Cardio warms up your body, makes your heart beat faster, and gets your blood flowing. This can help your muscles get ready for the heat of the sauna.
- If you start with the sauna, this can relax your muscles and make your blood flow better. This may make your cardio workout safer and more effective by making your muscles more flexible and decreasing the chance of injury.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Caloric equivalents of gained or lost weight (1958, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Cardiovascular and Other Health Benefits of Sauna Bathing: A Review of the Evidence (2023, mayoclinicproceedings.org)
- Can Saunas Help with Weight Loss and Other Health Issues? (2023, healthifyme.com)
- Can saunas help with weight loss? (2023, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Cold Showers vs. Hot Showers: Which One Is Better? (2023, healthline.com)
- Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day (2023, health.clevelandclinic.org)
- How Many Calories Are Burned In A Sauna? (Calculator) (2023, pursueperformance.com)
- Is Sauna Is Good For Losing Belly Fat? (2022, saunaexperts.ie)
- Sauna After Workout: The Health and Weight Loss Benefits (2016, healthline.com)
- Sauna Detox: The Top 5 Natural Ways to Remove Toxins from Your Body (n.d., mtmistspas.com)
- Some cardiovascular and metabolic effects of repeated sauna bathing (1986, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Sleep More, Weigh Less (2022, webmd.com)
- Surprising Benefits of Sauna Therapy (2023, health.usnews.com)
- The Benefits (and Drawbacks) Of Hitting the Sauna After Working Out, According to Pros (2022, ptcentral.org)
- WHAT IS YOUR LYMPHATIC SYSTEM AND WILL USING A SAUNA HELP IT FUNCTION (n.d., steam-sauna.com)