One of the many benefits of using an infrared sauna is weight loss. An infrared sauna creates an environment where the user burns calories, just by sitting passively inside. With the growing trend of seeking less invasive and more natural methods of health care, medical professionals are beginning to see the importance and value of heat therapy. This has made infrared saunas popular among many doctors as an effective treatment for their patients.
Using an infrared sauna increases your heart and metabolic rate, as well as your cardiac output. This will result in an overall improvement of cardiovascular fitness. When we perspire, our body is beginning the process to cool itself. As our body sweats, we are losing water weight, however, since our body is burning calories, we are losing actual weight as well.
Infrared Saunas and Weight Loss Go Hand-in-Hand
Hippocrates famously stated: “Give me a fever, and I can cure any disease.” Although this statement applies to far more than weight loss, one of the many benefits of sweating is that it increases our metabolism.
As our metabolism increases, our body burns more calories. In fact, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has shown that a 30-minute sauna session can burn as many as 600 calories!
Our body’s core temperature increases while we are in a sauna, and as a result, our body needs to work hard to cool itself. Our blood flow increases, along with our cardiac output and metabolic rate. These increases improve our overall cardiovascular fitness, and because our body is working hard to cool itself, we are burning a lot of calories.
A passive cardio workout occurs because of the increased demand on our cardiovascular system. It’s not uncommon for our diastolic blood pressure to decrease because of the improved blood flow and the dilation of our vessels and capillaries. Our vital organs and endocrine glands also increase their metabolic processes. In every aspect, our bodies are working hard to cool itself, and all of these things contribute to a higher calorie burn.
A traditional sauna will help our body achieve these benefits as well, however, an infrared sauna is far more efficient. Infrared saunas can generate as much as 3 times more sweat – which translates to our body working much harder to cool itself, and as a result, burn far more calories.
We may be relaxing in a stress-free environment, but our body is actively conditioning our heart and burning calories.
An Effective Method of Burning Calories
Based on a 150-pound person, 30-minutes of brisk walking would burn 150 calories. However, if this same person were to run at a marathon pace, they could increase their calorie burn to as much as 593 calories! Our bodies burn .586 kcal in order to produce a single gram of sweat, and since infrared saunas cause us to sweat, a 30-minute sauna session can burn 600+ calories, simply because they are so effective! Infrared saunas are also a great way to gently warm-up prior to stretching or beginning a workout.
It’s a great way to help prevent injuries, especially for outdoor exercise such as running during cold weather. In 2003, there was a 2-week study conducted with 25 obese adults. After daily use of an infrared sauna (15-minute sessions), all 25 participants reduced not only their body weight but also their body fat. One of the participants was physically unable to exercise, and after 10 weeks of sauna use, showed a weight loss of over 30 pounds, including a body fat loss of 11%! All of this puts the infrared sauna in a unique position because of the role it plays in cardiovascular conditioning.
They are not only an effective tool for those seeking weight loss but they also have the ability to help individuals in 3 very diverse groups:
- Individuals who can not or do not exercise
- Individuals who are trying to lose weight
- Individuals who are extremely active
Infrared Saunas as a Weight Loss Tool
In 2009, there was a clinical study conducted which showed significant results in weight loss and waist circumference when an infrared sauna was used over a 3-month time period. Incorporating an infrared sauna into a weight loss program can be very beneficial.
First, because of the increased energy (calorie) demands placed on keeping the body cool thru the act of sweating. Second, because of the “excretion of fat.” According to the Mayo Clinic, as our body converts fat to usable energy, both heat and waste products are generated.
The waste is composed of water and carbon dioxide and exits our body thru urine, sweat, and our breath as we exhale. The number of fat cells within our body is determined early in life, and they will shrink and expand throughout our life. But the number remains the same.
When we gain weight, our fat cells grow larger and often absorb toxins. As the fat accumulates, it can develop into a gel-like substance called cellulite.
Cellulite is made up of fat, water, and toxins, and it forms in pockets below the skin. When we use an infrared sauna, we assist our body in releasing this unwanted fat and toxins.
As we sweat, the energy demands on our body help us burn and break down the fat which will release the toxins trapped inside. The sweat then sweeps these waste products out of our body, and as a result, our body is able to rid itself of cellulite.
Infrared Saunas and Exercise
An infrared sauna should not replace exercise if you are physically able to be active. However, it is nice to know that regular sauna use can offer many of the same benefits of exercise. For those who are unable to exercise, the use of a sauna can provide a passive cardiovascular workout at a level that may be extremely difficult to achieve any other way.
In addition, often people who begin a weight loss program will incorporate an exercise routine. Many have never exercised before, and for others, it may have been quite some time. Not only will these individuals be able to take advantage of all of the weight and fitness benefits of sauna use, but they will also speed the recovery of sore muscles and reduce the time it takes their body to recover.
Many studies have shown that regular use of an infrared sauna can burn calories, improve cardiovascular health, and reduce body fat. However, incorporating this powerful tool into a healthy lifestyle of good nutrition and physical activity is the key to helping you maximize your results!