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Do Saunas Help You Lose Weight and Burn Calories?

When we think of a sauna, we usually envision a quiet space designed for relaxation and stress relief. But a growing body of research suggests that the regular use of a sauna can be a helpful tool in weight loss as well.

In this article, we'll dive into how you can harness the power of a sauna for weight loss and create a more comprehensive wellness routine.

How Does a Sauna Help You Lose Weight?

Saunas have been a staple in various cultures for centuries, offering a plethora of health benefits including relaxation, improved circulation, and detoxification. However, one lesser-known advantage of sauna use is its potential for burning fat and aiding in weight loss.

While there are studies that provide scientific backing for the use of saunas to lose weight, it's crucial to remember that individual results may vary, and using a sauna should be one part of a multifaceted approach to weight loss, including a balanced diet and regular physical exercise.

Increases Metabolic Rate

One of the ways that saunas contribute to weight loss is by increasing metabolic rate. When you're exposed to the intense heat of a sauna, your heart rate accelerates, and your metabolism increases, a physiological response similar to what happens during physical exercise.

Consequently, your body burns calories at a higher rate, aiding in weight loss. The heat of the sauna increases the basal metabolic rate which enables you to burn calories while not actively doing anything (on top of all the other benefits of sauna).

Sweat Off Water Weight

Another way saunas help with weight loss is through the immediate loss of water weight. A sauna session can help you lose water weight quickly through sweating. Although this isn't a permanent solution for weight loss, as the water weight typically returns when you rehydrate, it can temporarily help you shed a few pounds. This can be particularly beneficial if you're looking to slim down for a specific event or weigh-in.

A study in the Journal of Athletic Training confirms that sauna use can lead to significant body mass loss (BML), primarily due to body water loss through sweating. However, the study emphasizes the need for proper hydration before and after sauna use to prevent dehydration.

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Improves Cardiovascular Performance

Regular sauna sessions can enhance your cardiovascular performance. The heat from a sauna causes vasodilation (the widening of blood vessels). This increase in blood flow makes your heart work harder, providing a mild but beneficial workout for your cardiovascular system.

Improved cardiovascular health can indirectly assist in weight loss as a healthier heart can support more strenuous exercise, increasing the potential for calorie burn. A comprehensive review in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings synthesized numerous studies on sauna bathing and found that regular sauna use enhances cardiovascular function, potentially leading to improved physical performance. This review suggests that the cardiovascular adaptations induced by regular sauna use could help improve endurance in sports, which could indirectly impact weight loss.

Maximize Using a Sauna for Weight Loss with These Tips

While sauna sessions are not a miracle solution for weight loss on their own, combined with other health habits they can enhance your weight loss journey significantly. Here are a few tips to help you burn more calories and fat alongside saunas.

1. Pair Sauna Sessions with Regular Exercise

While a sauna can complement your weight loss efforts, it shouldn't replace regular physical exercise. For the best weight loss results, pair your sauna sessions with a workout routine. The heat from the sauna can help loosen muscles, increase flexibility, and enhance blood flow, all of which are beneficial before or after a workout. Engaging in cardiovascular exercises like running, cycling, or swimming alongside sauna usage to further amplify calorie burning.

2. Stay Hydrated Before, During, and After

Sweating in a sauna means your body is losing fluids, so it's essential to stay adequately hydrated. To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of water before entering the sauna and continue hydrating throughout your session. Replenishing lost fluids post-sauna is equally important to maintain proper hydration levels and support your body's natural detoxification processes.

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3. Eat a Well-Balanced, Nutritional Diet

While sauna usage can contribute to weight loss by promoting sweating and burning more calories, it's essential to pair it with a balanced and healthy diet. Aim for a diet that is sustainable, nourishing, and aligned with your fitness objectives.

Consuming nutrient-dense foods that are rich in fiber, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables can support weight loss and provide the essential nutrients you need. Of course, avoid eating large amounts of processed foods, sugary snacks, and high-fat meals, as they can slow your progress and counteract the benefits of your sauna usage.

Sauna and Weight Loss Precautions

While using a sauna for weight loss can be beneficial, it's essential to remember that the sauna alone is not a silver bullet for weight loss. Here is some advice to get started using a sauna to burn fat:

  • Start with shorter sessions and gradually increase your sauna time.
  • You should always listen to your body. If you feel dizzy or unwell at any point during a sauna session, it's crucial to exit the sauna and cool down.
  • As with any new regimen, it’s best to consult with a healthcare provider before getting started, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions.
  • People with certain medical conditions, including heart disease or high blood pressure, should consult with a doctor before using a sauna.

Remember, weight loss journeys are personal and unique to each individual. What works for one person might not work for another. The key is to find what suits you best and then to maintain consistency.

What Type of Sauna is Best for Weight Loss?

An at-home sauna can be a valuable addition to a comprehensive weight loss plan. While it's not a standalone solution, it can significantly enhance your efforts by boosting your metabolic rate, promoting cardiovascular health, and aiding in the temporary loss of water weight. However, achieving long-term weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight involves a multifaceted approach. Regular physical exercise, a balanced diet, adequate hydration, and other lifestyle factors are all integral to this process.

In addition, a home sauna can provide an array of other benefits such as relaxation, detoxification, improved sleep, and relief from muscle pain. Beyond its potential weight loss benefits, the sauna is a sanctuary where you can unwind, rejuvenate, and focus on self-care. This kind of holistic health approach is becoming increasingly important in our fast-paced, stressful world.

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At Plunge, our saunas allow you to reach your perfect level of heat for burning calories— up to a max of 230°F — all conveniently adjustable via a mobile app. Easy to assemble, available in two sizes, and made with premium materials (high-quality incense cedar and warp-resistant hemlock), our durable saunas can be placed both indoors and outdoors, allowing you to choose exactly where you relax. With financing options available, your at-home sauna experience doesn’t have to break the bank, either.

Discover the ultimate in-home sauna luxury. Explore the Plunge Sauna today!

Medical Disclaimer: The information contained in this post is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions or before embarking on any new health or wellness routine, including saunas and cold plunging. Neither the author(s) nor the publisher of this content take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any cold plunging routine or other health or wellness program.