If you’re looking to shed some extra pounds, you’ve probably tried many different methods. From hitting the gym and following strict diets to taking weight loss supplements, the options are endless. But have you ever thought about using a sauna or steam room to aid your weight loss journey?
While sauna and steam rooms have been used for centuries as traditional therapy treatments, they also come with surprising benefits that could help you lose weight more effectively. In this article, we’ll explore which one is better suited to help you achieve your weight loss goals.
“What’s great about these two options is that they are not only relaxing but can be used as supplements to your current diet and exercise routine.” – Fitness Expert
Both saunas and steam rooms work by making you sweat, but through different methods. Saunas heat up the air around you, while steam rooms use humid air to warm your body. This leads to increased blood flow, relaxed muscles, improved circulation, and other health benefits.
But how do these factors lead to weight loss? And which option is better for slimming down? Keep reading to discover how sweating it out in a sauna or steam room could be just what you need to jumpstart your weight loss journey!
Sauna Can Help Burn More Calories
Many people looking to lose weight often wonder which is better for weight loss: sauna or steam room? While there are benefits to both, saunas can be more effective in burning calories.
Increased Heart Rate
One reason why saunas can help you burn more calories is because they increase your heart rate. According to a study published in the Journal of Human Kinetics, spending time in a sauna can result in an average increase of 51 beats per minute in heart rate. This increased heart rate is similar to what you would experience during moderate-intensity aerobic exercise like walking or light jogging.
Furthermore, as your body tries to cool down from the heat in the sauna, your heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout your body. This extra effort results in additional calorie burn and a higher metabolic rate.
In addition to increasing your heart rate, using a sauna can also boost your metabolism, which can further contribute to weight loss. When we say “metabolism,” we’re referring to the chemical processes that occur within our bodies to keep them functioning properly. The faster our metabolism, the more efficiently these processes happen – including burning calories.
A study published in Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging found that regular sauna use led to significant improvements in participant’s basal metabolic rates (BMRs). BMR refers to how many calories our bodies burn at rest to maintain basic functions such as breathing and circulation. By increasing your BMR through sauna use, you can burn more calories even when you’re not doing anything active.
Improved Blood Circulation
Finally, another way saunas can aid in weight loss is by improving circulation throughout the body. As mentioned earlier, when you’re in a sauna, your heart has to work harder to pump blood. This increased effort also leads to better circulation and can help remove toxins from the body.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, regular sauna use can also promote endothelial function. Endothelial cells line our blood vessels and play an important role in controlling blood flow and preventing inflammation within them. When these cells are functioning properly, blood pressure decreases, circulation improves, and plaque buildup is reduced – all of which contribute to weight loss and overall health.
“Sauna bathing, as an activity that promotes cardiovascular endurance training effects, could be used as a potential tool for promoting vascular and cardiac health.” -International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health
While both saunas and steam rooms have benefits to offer for weight loss, saunas may be more effective in burning calories due to their ability to increase heart rate, boost metabolism, and improve blood circulation. Incorporating regular sauna sessions into your weight loss routine can not only aid in shedding unwanted pounds but also promote overall wellness.
Steam Room Can Help Flush Out Toxins
A steam room can be a great way to relax while also benefiting your health. One of the benefits is that it helps flush out toxins from your body.
The heat from the steam room opens up your pores and allows your skin to sweat, which aids in removing toxins from your body. The steam room’s high temperature causes your body to start sweating as it tries to cool down, and this process pushes impurities out through your skin.
This can especially help if you have an active lifestyle or spend time outside where pollution, dirt, and other harmful substances can build up on your skin and clog your pores. A steam room session can leave your pores feeling cleansed and refreshed.
In addition to opening your pores, sweating offers another way to remove toxins from your body. As you sweat, the fluid carries waste products from inside your cells and then expels them through your pores. This process filters blood by releasing excess salt, urea, cholesterol, and alcohol that can get trapped in the tissues beneath your skin.
A typical 20-minute steam bath can make you sweat for around 15 minutes, allowing you to eliminate more toxins compared to conventional exercise. In fact, even athletes might benefit from a detoxifying steam-room session.
For years, many have considered steam rooms a helpful tool in their weight loss journey, mainly because of how it assists with detoxification.
It’s essential to remember that toxin elimination can lead to temporary weight loss but won’t likely result in long-term weight loss unless you balance regular steam-room sessions with proper nutrition and exercise regularly.
“An occasional steam may help you lose some water weight, but it’s not a long-term solution,” says Edward Laskowski, MD, Co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center.
While a steam room session is relaxing and offers potential detoxification benefits for your body, proper nutrition along with regular exercise will have a higher impact on sustainable weight loss. Nonetheless, consider indulging in an occasional steam bath after consulting with your healthcare provider to get relief from sore muscles or promote relaxation.
Sauna Can Aid in Muscle Recovery
Many athletes use saunas as part of their recovery regimen. Saunas are dry heat rooms that help increase blood flow, decrease muscle soreness and stiffness, and promote overall relaxation. However, determining whether a sauna or steam room is better for weight loss can be difficult.
Reduced Muscle Soreness
Using a sauna after a tough workout can help to reduce muscle soreness. The high temperature in the sauna increases circulation, reducing inflammation and lactic acid buildup. This helps remove toxins from muscles and speeds up the healing process. A study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport found that sauna therapy reduced muscle damage and maintained maximal strength following simulated team sport activity in males.
Increased Blood Flow
When you spend time in a sauna, your body’s core temperature rises rapidly. As it tries to cool down, your heart rate increases and your blood vessels dilate, increasing blood flow to your muscles. This increased blood flow delivers oxygen and nutrients to your muscles more efficiently, accelerating the repair and regeneration process. In fact, some studies suggest that sauna use may result in improved peripheral circulation even among those with lower physical fitness levels.
Improved Muscle Flexibility
The warmth of the sauna can help improve flexibility by relaxing tense muscles and stiff joints. When muscles are warm, they become more pliable and less prone to injury. In addition, spending time in the sauna before stretching can improve its effectiveness, deepening stretches and allowing for greater mobility.
“The heat in the sauna also allows for an increase in muscle tissue extensibility while providing relief from minor aches and pains,” says Kristin Clark, senior director of strategy at Optimum Nutrition.
All in all, it seems that saunas can be an effective tool in aiding muscle recovery. However, whether a sauna or steam room is better for weight loss ultimately depends on personal preference and fitness goals. Both options offer significant health benefits, including increased relaxation, reduced stress levels, and improved skin health.
Steam Room Can Improve Skin Health
The steam room has become a popular relaxation and recovery tool in recent times. However, the sauna or steam room is not only good for your mind, but it’s also great for your skin health! The high temperature of the steam room has quite the significant impact on the skin.
Pores are difficult to see without magnification. They play an essential role in our skin system by allowing oil (sebum) to reach the surface of the skin. However, when pores become clogged with dirt, dead skin cells or sebum, they swell up and appear more prominent or even lead to acne breakout. Thus the steam opens these sweat glands and helps clear away congested debris that would have been stuck deep inside. This unclogging process happens as sweating naturally flushes out impurities from beneath the layers of skin. It means that toxins will exit through our pores giving you fresh, rejuvenated skin.
“When we expose ourselves to warm water or heat; such as steaming, those fluids dissolve and consequently soften the plugs within the pores,” explains Anthony Stevens, MD, dermatologist at Medicine Associates In Dermatology in Miami Beach. “The steam itself does not ‘open up’ pores like many believe. Instead, heat stimulates blood flow which causes the ducts to expand and dilate creating resistance against build-up.”
Acne breakouts occur due to inflammation of the sebaceous gland. When there is overproducing of pre-existing bacteria near the hair follicles, it leads to infection of the pores. Doing several frequent visits to the steam room per week can help treat underlying reasons for acne. Additionally, spending time in a steamy environment may help regulate sebum production leading to fewer breakouts. When we experience heat sensations on our skin, the pores tend to sweat and eliminate all dirt residue entirely.
“Anything that detoxifies will prevent bacteria from thriving internally,” says Mona Dan of Vie Healing in Beverly Hills. “The steam room opens up cellular debris so your body can get rid of it more efficiently.”
Improved Skin Elasticity
The heat and humidity within the steam bath promote collagen production while also regulating water content in the skin layers. Collagen fibers are responsible for keeping our skin firm and elastic: leaving us with taut and glowing skin. By visiting a steam room regularly, one may boost their glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline found abundantly in the amino acids necessary to maintain healthy collagen. Furthermore, increasing elastin along with stimulating blood flow means healthier tone and well-nourished complexion!
“When you enhance the relaxation process, you’re decreasing stress hormones like cortisol,” explains Dr. Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Department of Dermatology in New York City. “When cortisol levels go down, properties in the skin are less likely to break down because they cause damage to collagen.”
There is no question about it; the steam room is an excellent way to take care of your skincare goals naturally. You don’t have to face expensive creams and oils when taking advantage of thermal therapy. Take some time out of your day or week to visit the steam room and let the warmth work its magic on unblocking your clogged pores, reducing acne, and improving skin elasticity!
Sauna Can Boost Cardiovascular Health
A sauna is an enclosed room that uses dry heat to make you sweat. It has been around for centuries and during this time, it has evolved into a popular way to relax and unwind.
In addition to reducing stress levels, recent studies have shown that saunas can also boost cardiovascular health.
Lower Blood Pressure
One of the ways that saunas can help your heart is by lowering your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke, so anything that can reduce it is beneficial.
In a study published in The Journal of Human Hypertension, researchers found that regular sauna sessions reduced systolic blood pressure (the upper number) by an average of 5 points. This may not seem like much, but even a small reduction in blood pressure can have significant benefits for overall cardiovascular health.
“Sauna bathing, an activity used for the purposes of pleasure, wellness, and relaxation, is associated with decreased risk of hypertension, which in turn could be one mechanism underlying associations between sauna bathing and cardiovascularr disease risk.” – American Journal of Hypertension
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
Another way that saunas can improve cardiovascular health is by reducing the risk of heart disease. In fact, one study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine found that men who visited the sauna regularly had up to a 63% lower risk of dying from heart disease than those who only went once a week or less.
This effect may be due to the ability of saunas to increase heart rate, similar to exercise. When you spend time in a sauna, your body reacts as if you’re doing physical activity, speeding up your heart rate and circulation. This can lead to improved heart health over time.
Improved Endothelial Function
Finally, saunas have also been shown to improve endothelial function. The endothelium is a layer of cells that lines the blood vessels, and when it’s not functioning properly, it can contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease.
A study published in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension found that sauna sessions three times a week for four weeks improved endothelial function and decreased oxidative stress markers in patients with type 2 diabetes. This suggests that regular sauna use may be able to counteract some of the negative effects of high blood sugar on the cardiovascular system.
While saunas are typically thought of as a relaxing way to unwind after a long day, they can actually have significant benefits for your cardiovascular health. From reducing blood pressure to decreasing the risk of heart disease and improving endothelial function, there are several reasons to consider incorporating regular sauna sessions into your routine.
Steam Room Can Enhance Respiratory Health
If you are trying to decide whether sauna or steam room is better for weight loss, it’s important to consider the health benefits of each. While both can help with weight loss, a steam room may be more beneficial in terms of respiratory health.
Reduced Sinus Congestion
Steam rooms can be helpful for people who suffer from sinus congestion. The warm, humid air can loosen up mucus and help it drain out of your sinuses. This can relieve pressure and inflammation, making it easier to breathe.
“The heat from the steam can kill off bacteria that may be causing your nasal congestion,” says Dr. John Baddar, an otolaryngologist at Henry Ford Hospital.
If you have severe sinus congestion or chronic sinusitis, a steam room may not be enough to provide relief. It’s important to speak with your doctor about other treatment options.
In addition to reducing sinus congestion, a steam room can also improve overall breathing. When you breathe in the warm, moist air, it can help open up your airways and improve airflow to your lungs.
“The humidity makes it easier to breathe because it helps loosen secretions and reduces mucus,” says Dr. Freddie H. Fu, orthopedic surgeon at UPMC Sports Medicine. “Inhaled steam moves deep into your lungs and can soothe irritated tissues.”
This improved breathing can be especially beneficial for athletes who need to expand their lung capacity or people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Tips for using a steam room:
- Drink plenty of water before and after your session to stay hydrated
- Avoid using a steam room if you have low blood pressure or heart problems
- Limit your time in the steam room to no more than 20 minutes at a time
- Don’t use the steam room while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
“Steam rooms can provide respiratory benefits, but they should be used with caution,” says Dr. Fu. “If you experience any discomfort or difficulty breathing, exit the steam room immediately.”
If you are deciding between sauna and steam room for weight loss, it’s important to remember that both can be beneficial. However, a steam room may offer additional respiratory health benefits.
Before you start using a steam room, it’s important to speak with your doctor about whether it’s safe for you. If you have any chronic respiratory conditions or other health concerns, a steam room may not be appropriate.
A steam room can be a great addition to your wellness routine, but it’s important to use it safely and in moderation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is sauna better for weight loss than a steam room?
There is no clear winner when it comes to weight loss. Both sauna and steam rooms can help to increase heart rate and sweating, which may lead to temporary weight loss. However, the weight loss is mostly due to water loss and not actual fat loss. A combination of regular exercise and a healthy diet is the most effective way to achieve long-term weight loss.
Which one burns more calories – sauna or steam room?
Both sauna and steam room can help to increase heart rate and sweating, but the amount of calories burned is negligible. The increase in calorie burn is mostly due to the increase in heart rate, but it is not significant enough to be considered as a weight loss tool. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are the most effective ways to burn calories and achieve long-term weight loss.
Does sauna or steam room help in losing water weight?
Yes, both sauna and steam rooms can help to lose water weight. The heat from these rooms can cause sweating, which leads to the loss of water weight. However, the weight loss is temporary and not actual fat loss. It is important to note that excessive sweating can lead to dehydration, so it is important to stay hydrated before and after using these rooms.
What are the benefits of using a sauna or steam room for weight loss?
Using a sauna or steam room can help to increase heart rate and sweating, which may lead to temporary weight loss. Moreover, they can also help to relax muscles, reduce stress, and improve circulation. However, it is important to note that the weight loss is mostly due to water loss and not actual fat loss. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are the most effective ways to achieve long-term weight loss.
Can using a sauna or steam room help in reducing cellulite?
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that using a sauna or steam room can help to reduce cellulite. Cellulite is caused by the accumulation of fat under the skin, and sweating alone cannot eliminate this fat. A combination of regular exercise, a healthy diet, and targeted treatments such as massage or dry brushing may help to reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Is it safe to use a sauna or steam room for weight loss?
Using a sauna or steam room for weight loss is generally safe for healthy individuals. However, it is important to stay hydrated before and after using these rooms, as excessive sweating can lead to dehydration. Moreover, individuals with certain medical conditions such as heart disease or low blood pressure should consult their doctor before using these rooms. Pregnant women should also avoid using these rooms as they can be harmful to the developing fetus.