But that wouldn’t be fair since an explanation is necessary. A sauna is basically a room which is heated to high temperatures and meant to warm up your muscles and ‘loosen’ them a little. The temperature in a sauna can go all the way up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. You will be dripping with sweat and feeling light headed after a sauna session.
So, does that mean you lost weight?
Probably yes. Does it matter?
Because you only lost water weight. Once you rehydrate, your body will replenish the lost fluids as soon as possible and you will be back to the same weight. Saunas are used by pro athletes to lose weight so they can qualify for a lower weight class during the weigh in. This is their strategy to give them an advantage later on.
For a normal person just trying to shed excess pounds, a sauna should not even be a consideration as a weight loss tool. If you want to relax after a hard workout and ease your tired muscles, then by all means use a sauna. If you are hoping to lose weight just by going to saunas, it’s not happening.
There are some health benefits to using a sauna. Personally, I feel that these health benefits can be achieved with a hard 30 minute run. However, for an easier way to experience similar benefits you may try a sauna. When you use a sauna and sweat copiously, you will be flushing out toxins from your body.
Your heart will beat a little faster so it can be considered a very mild cardio session. The heat in the sauna will stimulate blood flow and help tired muscles to recover faster.
Some research shows that the increased heart rate in a sauna is similar to that as going for a walk. My suggestion is to just go for the walk instead. Use a sauna as a way to mentally de-stress. A tough training regimen and strict diet can take a mental toll on you. Use the sauna to relax. Close your eyes, soak up heat, sweat away and relax. You will be less tempted to binge on junk food if you’re relaxed.
You should also take note that a sauna will dehydrate you. Avoid alcohol before a sauna and do remember to rehydrate once you are done. Do not use a sauna before a cardio or weight training session. Only use it after your workouts.
Many gyms are equipped with saunas and many members use a sauna after a hard session on the treadmill. I wouldn’t recommend it because your body will have lost a lot of water from the workout. It would be a good idea to rehydrate and wait about 20 minutes before heading to the sauna. Try not to sleep off in the sauna. Finally, do not weigh yourself after a sauna and be glad if the scales have dropped. You will just be disappointed later.