How Long You Should Stay in Sauna to Lose Weight?
Many people use saunas to improve their health, but is there a right or wrong way to use them?
After all, using them too frequently or spending too much time in the heat may cause more harm than good. Find out what you're doing wrong and how you should be using a sauna for optimum benefits.
How Long Should You Stay in the Sauna?
If you’re new to saunas, experts generally agree on a few things. First, let it warm up for a few minutes before you get in.
Second, stay in for no more than 5-10 minutes at first. After exercising - wait at least ten minutes before getting into the sauna. Third (and this goes for experienced bathers as well), stay in no longer than about 15 minutes at a time.
While some people may like to spend their time talking in a sauna, a general rule is to stay in the sauna for no more than 15-20 minutes.
If you feel hot enough, leave the sauna. The Finnish word 'sauna' comes from the Finnish verb 'saunata', which means 'to steam oneself or sweat', not 'to count time' or 'to be bored'.
Benefits of Using Sauna for Weight Loss
Saunas are popular for many reasons, including relaxation, socializing and improving your health. Here are some reasons why you should use sauna to promote healthy weight loss:
1) Helps you lose water weight
When you use a sauna to lose weight, you will lose water weight in addition to fat. The heat from the sauna makes the body sweat, and as a result, you will lose excess water stored in the body. One sauna session can help you lose about two pounds or more.
2) Boosts Heart Rate
You can burn more calories by sitting in a hot room than in a room at normal temperature. Researchers have found that the body works harder to stay cool in the heat (or cold), which increases heart rate by up to 30%. This boost in metabolism can increase calorie burn.
3) Can reduce stress and inflammation
When you're stressed, it can be tough not to do something mindless, like eating. To offset the effects of stress on your weight, try taking some time to relax via a sauna session. Saunas have been linked to stress relief and quicker metabolism, which can help you lose weight.
Saunas and exercise both have a positive effect on the body, but it's still unclear how the effects of sauna time translate to stress levels and weight loss.
Can Sauna Help You Lose Weight?
Sweating a lot can lead to dehydration, which can be dangerous. In a small study published in 2019, researchers found that people who sweated for prolonged periods lost about 1 pint of fluid.
Extreme conditions, like a heat-related competition in a sauna, could cause people to lose much more. Severe dehydration is a medical emergency, though.
When you experience extreme heat, the blood vessels dilate and move closer to the skin's surface. That improves circulation and lowers blood pressure. This is generally a good thing for heart health.
However, people with irregular heart rates or recent heart attacks should avoid saunas, as this effect could lead to potential health risks.
Tips for Having a Safe Sauna Experience
To use a sauna safely, make sure to drink plenty of water, and avoid dehydration. If you're at risk for a heart attack or stroke, avoid saunas.
Here are some tips on how to stay safe while using the sauna:
- Plan ahead, and drink lots of water before your workout.
- Avoid medications that inhibit sweating or cause overheating.
- Stick to shorter workouts at first, working up to longer sessions as you get fitter.
- When you’re done sweating in the sauna, drink plenty of cool water.
- Don’t hop into an ice bath right after your sweat sesh — you risk getting hypothermia.
- If you start feeling sick during your sweat session, leave the room right away, and check with a doctor.
While saunas are no magic pill for weight loss, they're a helpful tool for committed exercise and diet regimen.
Saunas promote relaxation and stress management and make you feel better about yourself and your overall health. You should use them to complement your diet and exercise plan. Eating healthy foods in moderation and exercising regularly can ensure that you're healthier overall.