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Your body is constantly burning calories every minute of every day to sustain vital bodily functions such as blood circulation, respiration, brain function, and temperature regulation. Saunas cause an elevation in your body temperature and as a result the rate at which you burn calories can slightly increase because your body must work harder to keep itself cool. Your body combats these high temperatures with profuse sweating, which results in the loss of water weight. However, the water weight lost is only temporary and is restored as soon as you rehydrate. Moreover, saunas come with many dangers, including possible dehydration, heat stroke, and can alter your blood pressure. Long-term effective weight loss requires lifestyle modification combining physical activity and a healthy low-calorie diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.
The short answer is yes you do burn extra calories while sitting in a sauna and you’ll also experience a perceived weight loss. The extra calorie burn occurs because your bodies trying to cool off and the weight loss is due to excessive sweating and dehydration.
Even though your heart and lungs are challenged because of the increased cardiac output (accelerated heart rate and blood flow) and your body utilizes more energy in the sauna (can be as high as 300-500 calories), you can improve the function of your heart and lungs along with other very important muscles by just working out. Working out also challenges and builds lean muscle tissue. Participating in activities that you enjoy will also makes you feel better and increase your calorie burn after the activity (especially if you weight train) and during rest because the lean muscle tissue that you’ve stimulated and built, burns more calories than fat.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.