Fitness
Moderators: melkor


Sauna - how many calories am I losing?


Quote  |  Reply

Hello, I used a sauna the other day and am curious as to how many calories you lose while in there. The manual says you can lose anywhere between 900 and 2000 calories per session.. which seems crazy!

I do aerobic exercise for an hour or more 6 days a week anyway, so I'm not using the sauna as a way of losing calories regularly... but it was my day off and a friend has an infrared sauna... which I was curious to use. Apparently they're better for you?? the heat is less stuffy (hence you can breath).. and you can spend 45 mins at 50 degrees... and sweat a lot, but less detrimental than the standard saunas as the heat is gentle yet persistent.

Any info would be appreciated.. I spent 45 mins in there and sweated heeeaaaps.. and just logged it under my activites as losing around 300 calories. Can i get away with that?? ^_^

 

 

22 Replies (last)

I found this on line, and to me it makes the most sense.  You sweat because you are hot, any weight you lose is just water weight, and when you drink to replenish yourself you gain it back:

Sitting inside of a hot sauna for any period of time will make you sweat. Sweating releases fluid from your body. The longer you sweat, the more fluid you will lose, and this fluid loss is really the only weight loss that you see from sauna use. Once you are done with the sauna for the day, it is highly recommended that you drink lots of water after you’ve cooled off. This basically puts the lost fluid right back inside of your body.

Many sauna companies boldly state that just twenty or thirty minutes inside of their sauna will burn anywhere from three hundred to one thousand calories. This is simply not possible. People are always looking for an easier way to burn calories than exercise, but exercise is the only efficient way to really get rid of calories. Sitting in a sauna for thirty minutes may burn up to three hundred calories, but this type of calorie burn will not have the same effect on your body as the calories burned during exercise.

Calories burnt off while sitting in a sauna are just calories burnt. There is no muscle building, no fat shedding, no after burn (VERY important!) and no muscle strengthening or toning. When you choose to burn calories through exercise, you not only burn more calories, but you also build and tone your muscle, and you get rid of the excess fat on your body. If you choose the right kinds of aerobics exercises, you will also get the added benefit of after burn. After burn is what the body does after you have finished exercising. After burn can burn calories up to fourteen hours after you have stopped exercising. If the only reason you are using a sauna is to lose weight, there are much better things you can be doing to achieve your goal.

So short answer (but basically what dove said):

You burned the same number of calories that you would have, had you been sitting in a cool room for 45 minutes.

#3  
Quote  |  Reply

...and (to add to the other two posts) you would probably burn more calories in a cool room because you would have to heat your own body.  It's water your burning, not calories.

 Well, your body will work a bit harder to cool you off, and that will increase your calorie burn some. Your heart needs to pump more blood to your surface to cool your internal organs.

 But as a weight loss method it's of no significance, the order of magnitude for the increased calorie burn is less than what you can achieve with a leisurely walk around the block.

I believe that saunas should just be used for relaxation after your work out. Same with a steam room. Your not actually doing anything but sitting around and sweating. Its great for models or body builders to get rid of water weight quick so they dont look puffy for major events and whatnot.

You're not burning any more calories in a sauna than you are if you're sitting any place else. What you ARE doing is sweating buckets, which will drop your weight but it's all just water-weight not fat.

yu lose water water weight in the sauna....not actual weight...drink some water afterwards and you gain it back.....

i tried to stop weighing myself after excersise because the dehydration from sweat can be deceiving i can lose up to 4 pounds im only 110....ppl that weight 180-200 can lose up to 10.....and i think that can give you a really false sense of progress...and make it even more upsetting the next time you weigh in...

dont log in 300 calories.....you arent losing that much actually...for me i wouldnt bother logging it...your better off spending that time working out.

as everyone said above the sauna doesnt burn calories...for me, the sauna is best used for stretching...when it is empty i like to sit in there for about 5 minutes to warm up and then stretch for five to ten minutes...for me if feels very good and helps stretch muscles a little more because your body is a little warmer and sustains the warmth during to whole stretch...just food for thought...

they are of value to some for the purifying nature of sweating out toxins and replenishing your fluids with fresh, clean water. its not about weight loss, dehydration is not healthy. its about releasing the crud that builds in a body and can be let go of with a good sweat. if its a good hot sauna, you can get/feel all your pours to open, really exhilarating and purifying, no wonder its part of many sacred traditions! amazing. 

#10  
Quote  |  Reply

Actually, studies have shown that both air conditioning and heating may be a significant contributing factor in so many Americans being overweight. Reason being that when your body cools itself and/OR heats itself, you burn more calories, and Americans almost always sit in their comfort zone--"room temperature" --

In addition, improved circulation can increase metabolism.

Heart patients are prescribed infrared sauna sessions to get the heart pumping without exercise. -- So it does strengthen the cardiovascular system too. Although healthy folks should ALSO exercise of course.

So, sitting in a sauna, a person will burn more calories than sitting in room temperature, but no one agrees on how many more at this point. The biggest benefit of the infrared sauna is that a person can tolerate the heat better, since it is surface heat, rather than air heat, and the longer you stay in the sauna, the more toxins and excess fluid you sweat out, the longer your heart is pumping and the better your circulation.

Caveat: Dehydration can cause plataeu or even weight gain in the long run (as well as other health problems), so drinking at least 8 ounces of mineral water or juice per 1/2 hour in the sauna is really important.

I've always wanted to try one of these. It seems like it would make you sick though if you weren't properly hydrated! Crap, I usually take really hot showers and it gets pretty steamy in there I guess I invented my own type of sauna. Ha Ha.

I agree with everyone though, suanas pretty much just make you lose water weight, but once you drink up again you just replenish it all back. So if you do it, do it for relaxation instead of weight loss.

Original Post by lizzievarley:

The manual says you can lose anywhere between 900 and 2000 calories per session.. which seems crazy!

Wow... that is such a blatant lie.

Original Post by melkor:

 Well, your body will work a bit harder to cool you off, and that will increase your calorie burn some. Your heart needs to pump more blood to your surface to cool your internal organs.

 But as a weight loss method it's of no significance, the order of magnitude for the increased calorie burn is less than what you can achieve with a leisurely walk around the block.

 Yep to all above. I will just add that the walk around the block would also be a lot more FUN! ;)

#14  
Quote  |  Reply

Of course saunas burn calories, yet how many would require knowing exactly how the variables that contribute to energy expenditure are at work when you are in the sauna. I find it odd that people intuitively think they know that no calories are burnt or a few calories are burnt.  Have you tested your intuitions?


Even when you are sitting at your desk or couch you are burning calories, when you eat you burn calories, and, yes, when you exercise you burn many more calories than when at rest.   What is also odd is that people think that you can only burn fat calories when you exercise.   This does not makes sense either; if you create a caloric deficit then overtime your body would have to tap into its fat stores to fulfill all of your caloric needs.

A sauna does not burn calories in the same way as exercise because you are not expending energy to move your mass over a distance, like when you go on a run. Nor is it like building muscle, which will increase your metabolism and burn more calories over the long haul.

However, two things do happen when you spend enough time in sauna

First, your heart rate increases in a sauna. If you don't think that you expend more energy with an elevated heart rate then I don't know what to tell you. Take a heart rate monitor into a sauna, check it out for your self.  Again, remember that if your heart rate reaches 140/minute it is still not the same as moving your body mass (jogging) over a distance at 140/minute.

Second, I have to assume, but I have not verified, that at some point your core body temperature rises. This depends upon how long you stay in and how hot it is.  A higher core body temperature increases the rate of moisture evaporation and burns more calories. Same thing happens when we run on a hot humid day. I suppose you can check this with a thermometer.

So if you put all the variables together I suppose you could find out how many calories you actually burn. I have no interest in doing that, but there is no doubt that the energy expenditure is much higher than at rest.  And unless you have evidence that clearly demonstrates that higher heart rate, higher core body temperature, and moisture evaporation does not require energy--calorie burning--then I don't think you can say that saunas don't burn calories.

Original Post by segundoii:

Of course saunas burn calories, yet how many would require knowing exactly how the variables that contribute to energy expenditure are at work when you are in the sauna. I find it odd that people intuitively think they know that no calories are burnt or a few calories are burnt.  Have you tested your intuitions?


Even when you are sitting at your desk or couch you are burning calories, when you eat you burn calories, and, yes, when you exercise you burn many more calories than when at rest.   What is also odd is that people think that you can only burn fat calories when you exercise.   This does not makes sense either; if you create a caloric deficit then overtime your body would have to tap into its fat stores to fulfill all of your caloric needs.

A sauna does not burn calories in the same way as exercise because you are not expending energy to move your mass over a distance, like when you go on a run. Nor is it like building muscle, which will increase your metabolism and burn more calories over the long haul.

However, two things do happen when you spend enough time in sauna

First, your heart rate increases in a sauna. If you don't think that you expend more energy with an elevated heart rate then I don't know what to tell you. Take a heart rate monitor into a sauna, check it out for your self.  Again, remember that if your heart rate reaches 140/minute it is still not the same as moving your body mass (jogging) over a distance at 140/minute.

Second, I have to assume, but I have not verified, that at some point your core body temperature rises. This depends upon how long you stay in and how hot it is.  A higher core body temperature increases the rate of moisture evaporation and burns more calories. Same thing happens when we run on a hot humid day. I suppose you can check this with a thermometer.

So if you put all the variables together I suppose you could find out how many calories you actually burn. I have no interest in doing that, but there is no doubt that the energy expenditure is much higher than at rest.  And unless you have evidence that clearly demonstrates that higher heart rate, higher core body temperature, and moisture evaporation does not require energy--calorie burning--then I don't think you can say that saunas don't burn calories.

 True. But at the same time, if you laid out on the beach and tanned, all those same things would happen. Would you consider that helpful to weight loss? I wouldn't. Saunas are nice for relaxing sore muscles after a workout. Besides that, its just a stuffy humid room. If your house was humid and stuffy you'd turn on the AC and you wouldn't log the calories burnt sitting in your humid hot room, would you? What about sitting in a jacuzzi or taking a hot shower? Too insignificant to count as calories burnt.

#16  
Quote  |  Reply

A sauna on average is set to 180-200 degrees (F). You cannot recreate that outside by sun tanning. Jacuzzis, on average are 103 (F). If you submerge your body water in that heat for x time you could find out if your core body temperature rises. I don't know how hot water is when you are taking a shower, but it does not seems that it could raise your core body temp unless it was quite hot and you took a pretty long shower.

Or if you sat in a cold-pool the same would happen because your body has to fend off the cold that is dropping your temp.  Even if your stuffy room is 100 (F), it is nowhere near as hot as a sauna.  So unless someone actually tests what happens to their bodies in saunas no one can unilaterally say that a significant or insignificant # of calories are burnt.  I never said saunas are helpful to weight loss, my guess is that you burn more calories in a sauna (core-body temp, increased heart rate, and rate of moisture evaporation) than you do at rest. 

Are they helpful to weight loss, well that is an interesting question.

So what we should be looking for is a research study where there was control group and a treatment group, the treatment group was treated by sauna exposure and everything else is held constant: diet, exercise, calorie intake.

If treatment(sauna) group lost more weight than the control group, then yes it can contribute to weight loss, if no, then it doesn't. But until that happens I don't know that saunas burn a significant amount of calories as much as you don't know that an insignificant amount is burnt. Only a scientific approach can actually confirm your opinion.  

 

 

I totally agree with the logic of this members posts. I use the sauna and know that on the days that I do I am using more energy and in the scale of things the energy used all goes towards calorific burning which eventually leads to weight loss so long as I am burning more calories than I am consuming over a reasonable period of time. The water loss is another matter and I for one do not allude myself that I have lost weight in the space of time spent in the sauna just because my body sweats water.

classic. 

eta: especially classic because it's in the "fitness" forum.

 Is it a Classic Thread or a Zombie Thread, you think?

Original Post by pgeorgian:

classic. 

eta: especially classic because it's in the "fitness" forum.

ah ah!

 

22 Replies (last)
Advertisement
Advertisement
Allergy Remedies
Is It Possible to Go Natural?
The side effects of allergy medications keep some people from using them. Natural remedies can be a great alternative, but some are more effective than others.