Saunas are great for relaxation and overall wellness, but some people also use them for weight loss. Does it really work, or are you only losing water weight?
The average person can expect to burn about 50% more calories during a sauna session than they would while at rest, nearly 25 calories during a 15-minute session, 50 calories during 30 minutes, 70 calories during 45 minutes, and 100 calories during 60 minutes. A person’s weight, gender, and other factors will impact the total calories burned.
Keep reading to find out how to lose weight in a sauna, and any safety concerns you should take into consideration.
How do you lose weight in a sauna
Throughout history, saunas have been used for wellness and relaxation. Today’s spa-goers and health enthusiasts often ask, “Is the chatter about weight loss and saunas based on medical facts, or urban myth?”
Fortunately for sauna fans, there are many benefits of infrared sauna sessions. One of the greatest benefits is how long wave light assists with weight loss goals.
Exposure to these long wave lights, your heart rate increases in the same way that it would while walking at a normal pace for about 30 minutes. Your body temperature increases to promote sweating, the body’s natural “cool down mode,” effectively resulting in a higher metabolism which burns calories.
Assisting with weight loss is only one major benefit of infrared saunas. Other health benefits of long-wave lights include:
- Pain relief
- Optimal nutrient absorption
- Immune system boost
Is the sauna good for weight loss?
Doctors often mention the necessity and benefits of regular cardio activity for a healthy life.
Infrared saunas can help with weight loss because they can raise heart rate and metabolism, key fat-burning elements.
An increase in body temperature produces a low-impact, healthy sweat that promotes cardio output resulting in a stronger metabolism. The increase in metabolic rate is necessary to burn calories for weight loss. Information published in The Journal of the AMA revealed that sauna sessions can burn up to 600 calories per session, quite impressive for low-impact cardio.
Does sweating help you lose fat?
Sweating has not been established by the medical community as a core contributor to weight loss, but the good news is that sweating utilizes calories. There is more opportunity to burn fat the more you sweat.
Sweating helps the body regulate body temperature in direct response to increased heart rate caused by cardio activity, or infrared sauna sessions. During this process, the body releases water and salt which has a cooling effect.
Since sweating in saunas releases fat from vital cell membranes, it is important to point out its correlation to weight loss.
As the body retains infrared heat, cardio activity increases, and lymphatic and immune systems get a turbo kick. In return, sweat from fat cells is released, aiding the body in essential detox, a key player in weight loss, and a healthy diet and regular exercise.
While extreme sweating can signal the loss of water weight, it does not necessarily indicate fat loss.
Fat loss can only be achieved by consuming fewer calories than you burn. The caloric and metabolic increase caused by time spent in the sauna is unlikely to have a significant effect on your fat loss, or a long-term effect on your weight.
How long should you stay in a sauna to lose weight?
Infrared waves start to work in just 15-20 minutes; the amount of time recommended for beginners. So how long should you stay in a sauna to lose weight?
An ideal session is 25-45 minutes to burn an adequate number of calories without experiencing dehydration and lightheadedness.
Your ability to stay longer greatly depends on your current hydration level, health condition, and time spent working to extend sessions gradually over time.
Most facilities will limit general sessions to 30 minutes. Those in excellent physical condition can often handle a 45 minute to 1-hour session.
Once again, if spending 45 minutes+ in an infrared sauna, you must pre-hydrate. This is extremely important! Spa professionals also encourage users to allow 2-3 days in between sessions for recovery and safety.
The length of your infrared sauna session should be determined by your overall health condition. If you have any underlying health conditions or concerns, it is recommended to speak with your physician first about sauna exposure.
Sauna weight loss calculator
The number of calories you can expect to burn during your time in a sauna depends on a variety of personal health factors.
The calories you burn in a sauna will be affected by your:
To find out how many calories you can expect to burn during your time in the sauna, you should determine our baseline caloric burn (how many calories you would burn simply sitting around doing nothing), and multiply that by 1.5.
For example, a 5’5″ 150-pound 35-year-old woman burns roughly a calorie per minute at rest. If she were to spend 30 minutes in a sauna, she would burn 50 calories during that time instead of her usual 33.
A 6-foot tall 40-year-old man who weighs in at 200 pounds, however, would increase his caloric burn from 45 to 67 calories during the same period of time.
Although there are some claims that you could burn hundreds of calories per visit, the truth is you’re only likely to burn about 50% more calories in the sauna than you would watching tv.
There are, of course, other benefits, but any immediate weight loss you see is going to be water weight which will come back pretty quickly after you rehydrate.
How many calories do you burn in a sauna for 15 minutes
Infrared saunas can start increasing your heart rate in 15-20 minutes, so a 15-minute sauna session may not necessarily increase your heart rate enough to see any significant effect on your caloric burn.
On average, women will burn 1400 calories per day, while men will burn 1600 calories while at rest. Let’s take the average and assume that you burn 1500 calories per day. This comes out to just over 1 calorie per minute.
If you spend 15 minutes in the sauna (with your heart rate elevated), you should expect to burn roughly 23 calories in that time, rather than the nearly 16 you would doing nothing.
While this may seem insignificant, visiting the sauna regularly can add up. In this case, you could burn 186 extra calories over the course of the month while enjoying some much-needed rest and relaxation time – which can also help you lose weight!
How many calories do you burn in a sauna for 30 minutes
When you spend 30 minutes in the sauna, your heart rate increases to something similar to what you might experience during a nice walk.
The average person should expect to burn nearly 50 calories during a half-hour sauna session.
Again, 50 calories may not seem like much, but it’s better than 30! If you visit the sauna five days a week throughout the course of a four-week month, that’s nearly 400 calories.
How many calories do you burn in a sauna for 45 minutes
Once you’ve worked your way up to 45 minutes in the sauna, you’re going to start seeing some serious water weight losses after each session.
The average person can expect to burn about 70 calories during 45 minutes in the sauna.
Once you get up to 45 minutes, you’ll want to start leaving a couple of days between visits, so let’s say you make time for 3 sessions a week. Assuming you enjoy 12 45-minute sessions over the month, you’re looking at nearly 300 extra calories.
How many calories do you burn in a sauna for 60 minutes (one hour)
Only hardcore sauna lovers will sit for a full 60 minutes. If you think you’re ready, make sure you pregame by drinking lots of water!
The average person can expect to burn almost 100 calories during a full hour in the sauna.
f you’re hitting the big 6-0, chances are good you’re only going to be sitting two to three times a week. Even if you only have a dozen good sauna sessions in the month, you’re still looking at nearly 400 extra calories.
While the caloric burn may not seem to be in line with how much you’re sweating, you’re sure to be feeling more refreshed (and maybe ready for a serious workout!) after your weekly detox.