Weight Loss FAQ: How Many Calories Do You Burn in a Sauna?
The sauna is a standard fixture in a lot of countries, like Finland and South Korea. A lot of people enjoy using it for the warmth and relaxation it provides. But an increasing number use a sauna for its health benefits, like losing weight. This has prompted people to ask – how many calories do you burn in a sauna?
Benefits of Using a Sauna
Saunas have been used for centuries for their supposed therapeutic benefits. This particular heat therapy is said to give benefits like detoxification, improved circulation, pain relief, glowing skin and weight loss.
The heat in the sauna apparently detoxifies and helps with blood circulation. Sweating is one way for the body to flush out toxins we come in contact with. And sitting in a sauna does make us sweat up a storm.
Meanwhile, the sauna's hot environment helps increase the blood flow. This improves blood circulation, causing more oxygen to reach the tissues and push toxins out of our muscles. The improved circulation also boosts energy, which is why we feel refreshed when we leave the sauna.
Spending time regularly in a sauna can also help reduce pain through three actions – improving blood circulation, easing muscle tension and dilating blood vessels. However, you should consult your physician first before using the sauna for extended pain management.
The sauna can also help improve skin complexion. The heat from the sauna will cause pores to open up and cause sweat to flush out the bacteria, dirt, makeup and oil, resulting in better complexion.
How Many Calories are Burned in a Sauna?
The sauna can reportedly help with weight loss as well, with the heat from in the room producing an effect similar to exercise. The body's basal metabolic rate will increase by a significant amount and burn calories throughout the day. But how many calories are really burned off in a sauna?
Unfortunately, despite studies done on the subject and claims made by health experts, no one can give a definitive answer to that question. However, Harvard Health Publications say that spending time in a sauna can cause your heart beat to increase by 30 %, causing the body to burn almost the same amount of calories that you would have used during a 3-mile run.
Meanwhile, Cynthia Phillips claims in her book, “100 Ways to Supercharge Your Metabolism,” that the temperature in a sauna can increase metabolism by as much as 20%. This metabolic boost will apparently make it possible for the body to burn 300 calories in a half-hour session. This increase reportedly lasts for three hours, allowing the body to burn even more calories.
One publication even shared a formula for estimating how many calories you burn in a sauna. The equation goes: “number of calories burned in 30 minutes of sitting (specific to body weight) x 1.5 (or 2) = calories burned.”
Based on the equation, it's inherently impossible to burn 300 calories by staying in a sauna for 30 minutes. A more realistic number would be around 60 to 80 calories. It should also be pointed out that while it's true that you'll be losing weight in a sauna, it's just water weight. And you have to replace this water, otherwise you'll end up dehydrated.
The Bottom Line
The sauna undoubtedly gives lots of benefits, including weight loss. However, it should just be a complement to exercise and proper diet and not an extended way to lose weight. You should also remember that it's essential to consult a doctor if you plan on using a sauna on a regular basis.
Do you think using the sauna can burn calories? Let us know your questions or experience in the comments section. And don't hesitate to share this article if you like it.