Can Saunas Help with Weight Loss?

January 29, 2021


Saunas have long been used as a way of relaxing and having a good sweat time, but they also provide a quick way to shed off some weight. A sauna is typically heated to temperatures of between 65.6ºC and 90.6ºC (150ºF and 195ºF). 

While the temperatures and humidity levels can vary, saunas generally work the same in regards to how your body reacts. Saunas can help you lose a tiny bit of weight because you’re sweating off water weight. However, the weight will come back once you begin rehydrating again.

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How Much Weight Can You Lose in a Sauna in 1 Hour?

Because the intense heat in the sauna makes you sweat profusely, you’ll lose excess water stored in your body. Typically, you can lose up to five pounds in a 1-hour sauna session but, as you rehydrate, a lot of the weight will come back. 

The good thing is that the hot temperatures of the sauna will help you to keep burning calories long after your session is done. It achieves that by supercharging your metabolism, and the boost will keep going for several hours after you come out of the sauna.

The extreme heat also gets your heart pumping faster, causing your body to burn off extra calories in order to supply the required energy. However, the increase in heart rate only causes a slightly higher calorie burn than when you sit at rest. For effective weight loss, you need to supplement sauna sessions with real exercise.

If you’re going into a sauna, you need to do so after you’re done exercising for the day. That way, you can get more out of the sauna because it increases the effects of your workout. Going into a sauna before exercise means that you’ll dehydrate faster and suffer heatstroke.


Types of Saunas


How Long Should You Stay in a Sauna to Lose Weight?

For many people, saunas have become a way of life. Whether you use a sauna after a workout or just to relax and unwind, it can offer multiple health benefits. But, how long should you stay in a sauna if you’re looking to lose weight?

You should typically spend around 15 to 30 minutes in a sauna. If you’re doing it for the first time, do a session of 5 minutes or so and work your way up from there. Avoid staying in the sauna for more than 20 minutes nonstop. If you begin feeling lightheaded at all, get out of the sauna ASAP.

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According to recommendations by the American Sauna Society, the American College of Sports Medicine, and expert sauna bathers, the exact duration you stay in a sauna will be determined by different scenarios.

  • For beginners: Avoid staying in a sauna for more than 5-10 minutes at a time.
  • After exercising: Take a rest for at least 10 minutes before entering the sauna.
  • At maximum: Don’t stay in the sauna for more than 20 minutes at a time.

While some experienced sauna bathers, especially in Finland, can turn the sauna into a longer social event, you should avoid overdoing it. The longer you sit in the sauna, the more you risk dehydration. The general rule of thumb is to cap your time to 15-20 minutes.


Health Benefits of Saunas: Does Sauna Help Weight Loss?


Should I Shower after Sauna?

When you sit in a sauna, you enjoy the feeling of sweat streaming out of your body. The fact that toxins are driven out of your skin pores is beneficial to your health, but it’s not the only notable benefit. To enhance blood circulation and immune function, you need to encourage your pores to close soon after a sauna session.

To achieve that, you should jump into a cold shower immediately after a sauna. As your pores tighten, your blood will begin to flow back towards various organs, which helps to reinforce your body’s defense mechanism. Showering after a sauna essentially trains your immune system, making it much stronger during times of need.  

Also note that after a sauna session, your body will be more susceptible to toxins in the water. So, if the water coming out of your shower has high chlorine content, it can be easily absorbed through your skin’s open pores. If that is the case, consider investing in a shower head filter, which is generally fairly inexpensive. 

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