Saunas have always been customary in Scandinavia. Recently though, they’ve become more popular in the international world. A lot of high-end facilities and posh establishments even use saunas as a major selling point.
These include places like prominent hotels, spas, and luxe gyms. It’s quite common nowadays to associate weight loss with sauna, and for good reasons. Unlocking the secrets to sauna weight loss isn’t as complicated as you think it is.
The key is knowing where to start, the types of saunas available, and what suits you best. Find out more on the age-old benefits of saunas and how you can experience them today. If you’re on a weight loss journey, then read on.
Learn more about how visiting a sauna can aid your overall health and wellbeing. Here are some sauna weight loss tips and guides to check out. Especially after your workouts!
The concept of the sauna dates back to the ancient Romans with their baths and steam rooms. It’s also common practice in Nordic, Baltic, and some Middle Eastern countries as well. However, you’ll notice that a factor for some of these countries share is harsh winters.
This is the secret of saunas and why they were more of a daily routine than an infrequent luxury. It’s easier and more efficient to heat a room than collect pails and heat tubs of hot water. It also then becomes a communal experience without the need for an excess of water.
It also helps stay warm and relaxed. In a way, it’s also their way of embracing difficult winters. In hotter climates, sauna sessions also help regulate temperature, believe it or not.
In terms of how they work, there are two main types. Almost universally, “dry” saunas are what you see in colder and more northern climes. The other type has tons of humidity, usually around 100%, known as Turkish-style saunas.
Dry saunas are also often called Finnish-style. The heat comes from burning wood to heat sauna rocks. The heat source can be electric these days, but low humidity is still the goal.
Turkish-style saunas, in contrast, are steam-rooms, which leverage moisture and humidity. Both styles are great for after your workout, right before you hit the showers.
A Word of Caution
Which one you go with is often a personal preference, but it’s also important to use them right. Most beginners start with ten or fifteen-minute sessions, working their way up to 30. Of course, factors like age and various health conditions can also affect your usage.
In general, you should never exceed 30 minutes in the sauna. Dehydration can be a serious risk, as are heart palpitations. For that second reason, those with heart conditions should use saunas at their own risk.
Whatever your situation or preference, start slow and take it from there. You can learn more about how to pair a sauna with a good weight-loss program here.
How Does a Sauna Help You Lose Weight?
Many people take to saunas hoping to promote weight loss, but without an appreciation for how saunas work. It’s true that saunas come with loads of additional health benefits. That said, you need to be realistic about how it interacts with weight loss.
Regardless of your chosen sauna style, the air in an enclosed space gets heated to around 150 – 195ºF, causing you to sweat. During this process, you’ll sweat some of the weight off. That said, don’t expect to watch the pounds melt away that easily.
One of the ways sauna weight loss happens is through an elevated heart rate. Being in a hot room will do that. In this way, you can burn some calories as if you were exercising.
It’s important to note that the calories burned here are only a little more than when you’re at rest. Hitting the sauna after a workout is the actual important part. Sauna’s help you lose water weight and burn some calories, but they’re a supplemental tool.
They’re also great ways to open up your pores and reset or “cleanse” your body. When combined with good nutrition and a proper workout regimen, saunas can be the final piece of the puzzle. However, sitting in a sauna alone is not a magic bullet for quick weight loss.
Why Saunas Are About More Than Water Weight
We alluded to this earlier, but there are some serious health benefits to working up a sweat in the sauna. One of the major ones is detoxification and how it can help your weight loss journey. There are others, too, like metabolic boosts, better breathing, and stress reduction.
The first step is to make going to the sauna a regular part of your workout routine.
The Secrets of Detoxification
When you sweat, your body is doing more than self-regulating the heat from your exertion. It’s getting rid of all of that nasty stuff that’s built up in your body. This isn’t pseudo-science either, as your body does contain things like heavy metals, which you absorb through food.
These include mercury from fish, copper from water and old pots, and even lead present in your house. Regular sauna sessions help you sweat those things out.
Not only does this help you cleanse your body, but it helps you in your weight loss journey too. Regular detoxification can give you more energy and help you burn more fat. We’ve all heard the phrase “my body is a temple,” but in this case, it’s actually pretty true.
The better shape you keep your body in, the easier your weight loss journey will be. Hitting the sauna after every workout makes sure to take care of whatever toxins you didn’t get in your workout. There are also some days where you only go for a light workout and don’t work up as much of a sweat.
Doing a sauna session anyway, and sticking to them, keeps your body in optimal condition.
Metabolism and Better Breathing
These are two more immediate mechanical benefits of regular sauna sessions. We already mentioned how raising the temperature gets your heart pumping, leading to burned calories. What we didn’t tell you is how pronounced this effect can be.
You can expect around a 20% boost to your natural metabolism from regular sauna sessions. The beauty of this is that it isn’t only effective while you’re in there. You can reap the benefits for several hours after the fact.
Your metabolism is, in essence, the rate at which you burn calories. Therefore, any help you can give will help you towards your ultimate weight loss goal. With regular 30 minute sessions every day, you can sustain this boost.
That said, you still need to pair sauna time with actual workouts. Giving your metabolism a sauna boost prepares your body, but you still got to put in the hard work at the gym and home. Saunas also help you improve your respiratory capacity.
You can think of it sort of like high-altitude training, where the extra effort to breathe pays off. Regular sauna visits have long been a source of reprieve for those with breathing problems. If you use saunas as a tool to help improve your breathing, then that helps with blood flow.
This, in turn, helps your ability to exercise harder and for longer. We can all agree that the less time you spend gasping for breath in the gym, the better your journey is going.
Fighting Stress With Saunas
Stress can be a killer for any weight loss journey. When you feel tense or stressed, your body makes more cortisol. This is that chemical that gives you food cravings.
This can turn into a vicious cycle where stress eating keeps holding back your progress. No matter how much effort you put into the gym, going home to overeat isn’t going to get you anywhere. Dealing with the stress can fast turn into a nightmare.
In comes the sauna to the rescue. When you indulge in regular sauna sessions, you can relax and reduce stress. Your body will make endorphins while in this relaxed and meditative state.
These chemicals fight off cortisol and help keep you from stress eating. You can almost think of it as a spa experience where you can melt away after a good workout. Not only do you get all of the benefits mentioned earlier, but you can destress from the day’s troubles as well.
Post-workout Sauna Weight Loss Tips
Sauna weight loss has become something of a trend, and for a good reason. For millennia cultures have known the health benefits of sauna use. Now it’s become a part of effective workout routines because of how well it works in tandem with the gym.
Regular sauna sessions boost your metabolism, improve exercise capacity and reduce stress. They also help detoxify your body and all around give you a boost in your weight-loss journey. Check out our other blog posts for more weight-loss tips to supplement your efforts!