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ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (200,016)
Fitness Minutes: (299,018)
Posts: 27,319
12/8/12 6:29 A


Saunas have many health benefits, but increased caloric burn is not one of them. Sweating is how our bodies keep cool and remove toxins. It's not an indication of over all calorie burn. Some people sweat, some don't. And that's just the way their metabolism works.

Think of it this way. If sweating in a sauna burned as many calories as people say it does, then (in theory) the people of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, etc... should all be the THINNEST people in the US. I don't know if you've ever spent any time in New Orleans. But you walk outside for a few minutes and you are dripping with sweat just as if you were in a sauna.

If someone is sweating all day, then they should be burning oodles of calories, right ? Isn't that the theory behind the sauna ? Sit and sweat away the calories ? It's a fallacy. If you want to increase your daily calorie burn, you need to be active.

Now, that's not saying saunas don't have their benefits. I do like sitting in a nice hot sauna. It helps open the pours and reduce stress. So, if you enjoy the sauna, keep doing it. if you want to burn calories, walk to the sauna.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,456
12/8/12 12:50 A


Actually, there is very little truth to this whatsoever.

The functioning of the heart represents just 7% of your overall metabolism. So even if we are super generous and assume that the heart has to work 15% harder to pump blood to the extremities than it does when conserving heat and restricting blood flow just to the torso and head, that is just a 1% increase in your metabolism. For a typical metabolism of around 1500 calories per day, the increase in your heart rate would burn LESS THAN 1 CALORIE PER HOUR.

If you want to burn more calories, BE MORE ACTIVE. Sitting in a sauna is not going to do it.


DALCANT757 Posts: 152
12/7/12 8:11 P

There is some truth to this though. Hot weather exercise increases energy spent when you do activity, as your heart has to work harder to pump blood to your skin where the heat is dissipated, or else you would overheat. So if you were doing jumping jacks in the sauna, this may be a little more efficient than doing it in an air conditioned room.

If you are just sitting there, what you would want to alter would be your BMR. In this case you could wiggle around in a cold pool and hope your body can keep up without you getting hypothermia.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,456
12/7/12 7:56 P

No, it is ACTIVITY that burns calories, not sweating.

Jockeys and fighters may use saunas to reduce water weight to meet a specific weigh in target, but it goes straight back on as soon as they rehydrate.

Saunas are great for relaxing your muscles after a (genuine) workout, but other than that, they do NOT help you burn calories, or fat.


SP_COACH_NANCY SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 46,222
12/7/12 7:56 P


As Zorbs alluded to any weight loss would be due to a loss of fluids and not actual fat loss. In order for an activity to be considered as a cardio activity, it should elevate your heart rate between 60-85 of your max heart rate in relation to large muscle activation which in turn leads to a greater demand of oxygen consumption.

Consider it a nice time to relax, but just for a few minutes...20 minutes is a little long.

Coach Nancy

ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (199,693)
Fitness Minutes: (195,115)
Posts: 15,862
12/7/12 7:49 P

sitting in a sauna is no more of a workout than sitting in a chair.

Any "weight" lost is water weight that will return as soon as you rehydrate.

ALYCOLLINS7 SparkPoints: (2,950)
Fitness Minutes: (1,093)
Posts: 35
12/7/12 7:48 P

Hey Y'all I was just wondering if sitting in a sauna is really a work out and if so how many calories would I burn if I sit in there for 20 min? Some one told me it was and I want to know if it is true (:

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