Some people use a sauna to help lose weight. While the sauna can be a helpful tool for weight loss, there are things it does and does not do. If you're interested in using a sauna for weight loss, here's the truth about it.
Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss
Sitting in the sauna for 30 minutes will make you lose weight. Surprised? While it's true that you'll lose weight, that weight loss comes from water loss. When you sit in a sauna, you sweat. That sweat is water mixed with salt, and the weight loss comes from that loss of water. As soon as you rehydrate, you'll gain some or all of this weight back. If you rehydrate with anything that's not water, you may even gain extra weight back in fat.
Sauna as a Calorie Burner
Many proponents of sauna as a weight loss tool say that when you sweat and overheat, it causes the body to work harder and therefore burn more calories. This is all true. You will burn more calories sitting around in a sauna than you will if you were sitting around watching TV.
It requires energy for your sweat glands to release sweat, and your heart will pump harder, burning more energy. However, your heart is the only muscle that gets a workout in a sauna. You'll actually burn more calories by spending 30 minutes exercising than you will by spending 30 minutes in the sauna.
Sauna as a Detoxifier
Another method of increased weight loss that a sauna can help with is by detoxifying your body. Sitting in a sauna increases circulation in your body. In addition, by sweating you remove excess salt from your body. Detox can sometimes help to jump start the body to shed pounds when you've reached a plateau in your weight loss goals. However, a sauna can't help you lose weight all by itself in this manner. You need to add this to a healthy diet and exercise program.
Other Ways that a Sauna Can Help You Lose Weight
- A sauna is a great way to relieve stress. Saunas are relaxing and relieve all sorts of tension. If you eat more when you're stressed, this can help you lose weight by eating less.
- Sitting in a sauna after a workout can ease any pain you feel in your muscles later. This has two added benefits. First, if you avoid working out because of the pain you feel later, this can help you be more likely to get the exercise you need. Second, it speeds your recovery time so you'll be ready to work out again sooner than if you had not used the sauna.
The idea that just sitting in the sauna can help you lose weight is a myth. It is the truth distorted in a way to mislead you. While the sauna can aid you in losing weight, it is important that you continue to lead a healthy lifestyle, which means a healthy, balanced diet used in conjunction with plenty of activity and exercise.