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Will a Sauna Help Me Lose Weight?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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The weight loss that one may experience when using a sauna is temporary, due to the fact that the loss is through sweating, and is primarily water weight. This is easily regained after drinking a couple of glasses of water or juice. Some argue that the heart beats faster, which in turn results in the body burning more calories while in a sauna. However, this effect may result in very tiny increments of weight loss. Using a sauna is certainly not as effective as spending the same amount of time pursuing an aerobic activity like walking, swimming, or taking an aerobics class.

Athletes in certain sports may occasionally employ saunas, or sweat suits made of rubber, to lose a small amount of weight. This is particularly the case with sports where competition is based on weight class, as in wrestling. A pound difference can mean competing or not competing. Usually once a wrestler is given his weight class, he has time to produce more energy by drinking a protein drink or juice.

This is one thing that should be a concern with all sauna users. If you do plan to use a sauna, you should be concerned about fluid replacement. Water tends not to be the best choice, since it doesn’t contain a sufficient electrolyte balance. Juice, or specially formulated sports drinks are usually the optimum choice for replacing fluids lost while using a sauna. Lack of fluid replacement, and using the sauna for an extended period of time could result in dehydration.

There is certainly no harm in using a sauna for most people. People with low blood pressure or pregnant women, however, should not use a sauna. For most, using a sauna after a workout can be a nice way to soothe aching muscles. Many feel quite refreshed using either saunas or steam rooms.

For the dieter, you might want to skip the sauna as a weight loss tool, and instead invest a few more minutes in aerobic activity. This is likely to result in the actual accumulation of muscle, and burning of fat. Most who want to lose weight are interested in permanent, and not temporary results. A sauna only provides negligible, temporary weight loss.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon115997 — On Oct 05, 2010

thanks for the infrared sauna information. i use the sauna in our clubhouse both after a workout and to relax and love it.

By anon113544 — On Sep 24, 2010

If you search for actual scientific studies, you might find the opposite answer. From what I've read of these studies, a sauna actually burns more calories than an equivalent amount of time doing vigorous exercise. This is because everything your body does burns calories, including it's attempts to cool itself down while in a hot environment.

By anon86891 — On May 27, 2010

Any activity that increases the body's temperature causes its elimination procedure to work more effectively.

Your body uses heat in order to rid itself of toxins and that is the reason you get a temperature when you are sick.

Increasing body temperature through exercise primarily will cause the metabolic rate by which you eliminate waste to speed up slightly and thus causing toxic waste that is stored in your body as fat to be gotten rid of quicker.

By anon40728 — On Aug 10, 2009

I think the article is very helpful because I use the sauna after my workout as a way to unwind. But, my question is how many calories do you burn, if any for sitting in the sauna for 4 minutes?

By anon27044 — On Feb 23, 2009

At the ymca people go into the sauna after working out in their workout clothes and sneakers. I find this disgusting. I think they should shower first and wear a bathing suit.

By nileshb — On Jan 12, 2009

what is suitable weight for 165 cm height and 28 years old guy?

By anon3907 — On Sep 24, 2007

the site should provide the details of stones used in sauna bath, i mean type of stone, size of stone, number of stones used, etc. it will more useful and helpful for the persons using sauna bath. whenever anyone entered in any sauna room he / she can judge the quality of services the spa authority offering.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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