The sauna is the perfect place to lose weight. It burns calories, helps with weight loss and can contribute to better fitness goals. Is the sauna right for you? And how often should you be using the sauna?
What happens in a sauna?
Sauna is a Finnish word that means ‘bath’. The heat of the room activates sudorific glands, which produces sweat. Sweating in the sauna speeds up metabolism and this way contributes to calories burning.
Sauna can be used for weight loss
For weight loss, sauna is excellent. It leads to the burning of calories and it also activates your metabolism to speed it up. The calories burnt in the sauna are often called ‘after-sauna calories’ – calories that are burned after you leave the sauna room.
The number of these calories varies from one individual to another but it appears that intense sweating in the sauna may increase basal metabolic rate by 5-11%.
Should the sauna be included in my fitness plan?
If you are looking for help in your fitness plan, sauna is what you need. Regular visits to the sauna room will contribute to calories burning and thus weight loss. It is estimated that 500-800 calories are burning in a single 40 minute infrared sauna session.
It is recommended that you visit the sauna 2-3 times a week for about 20-40 minutes each time if you wish to lose weight. The amount of time varies depending on what type of sauna you use.
At first, it may be hard because even light sweating already feels somewhat exhausting. But it gets easier the more you use the sauna.
What determines how many calories I burn in a sauna?
The amount of calories burnt in a sauna session depends on a number of factors.
The calories burnt in a sauna session are determined by the following:
– The intensity of a session.
– How often you use a sauna and for how long.
– Your weight, height and age.
– Whether there is humidity in the room or not, which will have an effect on calories burnt too. For instance, it is estimated that for every liter of water evaporation, the calories burnt increase by 1%.
– The type of sauna you are using. The amount of calories burnt in infrared vs traditional sauna or steam room varies considerably due to their difference; usually but not always, more calories are burnt in an infrared sauna than in a traditional sauna or a steam room.
Types of saunas and calories burnt in them
Saunas where heat is produced by the full infrared spectrum, like infrared saunas, produce about twice as many calories burnt per session compared to traditional or steam room saunas.
Traditional sauna room is a wood-heated room with dry heat. In this kind of sauna, more calories are burned compared to a steam room but still less calories than in infrared sauna.
Steam rooms use water vapor as the heat source and the humidity makes it harder to burn calories as you will sweat less as your body is cooled by the infusion of cool water. For that reason, calories burnt in a steam room are far fewer per session than calories burnt in a traditional sauna or infrared sauna.
What is the best time for visiting the sauna?
It depends on what you want to achieve with your visit to the sauna. If you mainly wish to relax and unwind, the best time for a session is either early in the morning or in the evening, when it starts to get darker outside. This way you can enjoy your sauna without rushing out of it because you have other plans for the rest of the day.
It is also possible to visit the sauna at this time because you will not absorb much sunlight and it will not add to your calories burned in the sauna, which you can avoid when trying to lose weight.
However, if you wish to visit the sauna mainly for purposes of burning calories and accelerating your metabolism, a good time might be in between meals or in the afternoon when there is no food in your stomach.
It is recommended that you visit the sauna at least twice a week, so you should experiment with different times until you find what works best for you.