Are Saunas Good for Weight Loss?

January 11, 2023
5 min read

Can saunas help you to lose weight?

Ah, January. It’s that time of the year again when people start to think about improving their health and maybe even shedding a couple of pounds. Diets, trips to the gym, reaching your daily step count - there’s certainly a number of different ways that you can go about losing weight. The question is, can saunas aid weight loss?

Personally, we can’t think of a dreamier way to burn some calories than kicking back and relaxing in a sauna. However, using saunas alone will not help you to lose weight and keep it off. That’s because the initial weight loss you experience after sauna sessions is from water weight which is released due to sweating.

Whilst that might feel a bit disappointing to hear, we’d encourage you to hear us out on this one - because though they can’t do all of the hard work, saunas do boast a number of health benefits that can help you with your weight loss journey.

Looking to reap the benefits of the sauna? We’d recommend introducing regular sessions alongside your exercise routine and a healthy diet.

Do saunas burn calories?

If you’re looking for the short answer, it’s yes! The extreme warmth of the sauna means that your body has to work harder to keep you cool. 

Our top tip: to get the most out of your sauna session, combine both hot and cold with a chilly dip in the lake throughout. This is called contrast therapy and is a popular Finnish tradition that has been practised for hundreds of years.
Cold plunges in the open water in between the heat of the sauna burn extra calories as your body adapts to the changing temperatures.

Will using saunas improve my metabolism?

Metabolism is a word that you’ll find is often thrown around when discussing weight loss. Your metabolic rate determines how many calories you can burn whilst resting, so most people want to boost their metabolism to increase their calorie burn.

Saunas can improve your metabolic rate by increasing your heart rate in intense heat.

Some other ways to give your metabolic rate a boost include doing high-intensity workouts, drinking plenty of water and also drinking green tea.

Will sauna sessions give me more energy?

Those who combine sauna sessions with regular exercise will see increased energy levels that can help to optimise workouts. This is because saunas can improve breathing and respiratory function, which in turn means that you can handle working out for longer periods of time. 

Similarly, the improved blood circulation regular sauna-goers enjoy can also help to increase exercise capacity.

How often should you use saunas? It’s important to note that those hoping to see these fitness benefits would need to be partaking in regular sauna sessions. 

Ideally, this is once or twice a week for around 15 minutes.

What are the benefits of a sauna detox?

If there’s one thing that most people associate with saunas, it’s intense sweating due to the heat. The sweat you release in sauna sessions is your body detoxing from all of the harmful substances. 
Can saunas burn belly fat? Regularly detoxing in a sauna can also help your body to burn fat more efficiently.

Saunas and stress relief

Though we’ve mainly discussed all of the physical health benefits to be enjoyed with regular sauna sessions, one of the most enjoyable aspects of sauna bathing is the feeling of relaxation and calm. This is excellent for your mental health due to reduced feelings of stress and anxiety - and some have even found that it reduces feelings of depression.

Wondering what this has to do with weight loss? Poor mental health can be linked to fluctuating weight, whether that’s extreme loss or gain. This is because stress can lead to other issues such as comfort eating and avoiding exercise. 

How long do you spend in a sauna to lose weight?

If you’re new to sauna bathing, it’s best to enjoy your sessions in short bursts of around 5 - 10 minutes. Then, with regular visits, you’ll be able to stretch to about 15 to 20 minutes. 
Remember that your body is your guide: when you’re too hot, get out.

Are saunas safe?

There are a number of different benefits to incorporating sauna sessions into your exercise routine. However, there are some precautions that must be taken to keep yourself safe when using saunas. We’d always recommend avoiding drinking alcohol prior to getting in a sauna and hydrating with plenty of water when getting out. 

It’s also important to look after your skin by moisturising it after your session - the heat of the sauna opens your pores and can be dehydrating. 

After spending time in the extreme heat, cooling down is key. 

Here at Divers Cove our wooden sauna pods are located next to our lake, so our members can combine warming up in the sauna with cold dips in the open water, a truly exhilarating way to cool down! 

If you don’t have an open water swimming and sauna venue close to you then a cold shower will also do the trick. 

Want to learn more about the benefits of contrast therapy? Check out our blog post here.

Who should avoid using saunas?

We’d recommend that pregnant women and those with heart conditions, diabetes or high blood pressure skip the sauna session or consult their doctor first.

Hand-crafted wooden sauna pods in the heart of Surrey

Ready to introduce sauna sessions as part of your weight loss regime?

We’re located in Godstone, Surrey and offer open-water swimming sessions as well as our wooden sauna pods which are available for sessions or private hire.

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