Sweating It Out: Sauna Usage As Part of a Healthy Weight Loss Program
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Sweating It Out: Sauna Usage As Part of a Healthy Weight Loss Program

Many people find themselves struggling while trying to jumpstart their weight loss programs or drop those last few stubborn pounds. One technique to promote weight loss is by using saunas. Many people think about using saunas solely as a form of fun and relaxation, but saunas can also be a valuable tool when incorporated--along with proper diet and exercise--into a regular weight loss regimen.

How Do Saunas Work?

Temperatures in a typical sauna session range between 158 degrees Fahrenheit and 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The low humidity makes the high heat more tolerable to the human body. Saunas cause the body to sweat as high heat triggers the release of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine in an attempt to regulate body temperature. In just 15 minutes of sauna use, the human body can sweat over one liter. That's over four cups of water! 

Proponents of sauna usage as a weight loss tool propose that the body works harder when it sweats. As your body works harder, your heart pumps faster, which increases the rate at which you'll burn energy. In other words, it is possible to lose more weight relaxing in a sauna than hanging out with your friends or watching television. This is a temporary fix, however, as eating and drinking will immediately cause the water weight to return. 


Sauna Usage to Promote Weight Loss

For best health, sauna usage must be done in moderation. A beginning program should incorporate twice-weekly 30 minutes sessions.(Anything beyond 30 minutes becomes dangerous.) Start by choosing a low temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit; as this temperature becomes increasingly manageable, you may increase it. As your body acclimates to the process, gradually increase the number of days that you use a sauna to an optimum every other day; each session should last at least 20 minutes but no more than 30. During a brief 15 minute sauna session, your body burns between 300 and 500 calories!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

Saunas work by drawing sweat--which is water mixed with salt--out of your body. It is important that you drink plenty of water in order to replenish the fluids you lose while using the sauna. Physicians warn against extended sauna usage because of the risk of dehydration, which can lead to kidney damage. Be sure to drink water before, during, and after each sauna session so you don't suffer from this potential health hazard. If you experience faintness or feel like you are overheating, take a break to cool down. Otherwise, the elevated temperatures can lead to collapsing and/or fainting. 

Other Benefits of Sauna Usage

Sauna usage promotes relaxation, lowers stress, and can be useful in the weight loss process. However, sauna usage also helps your body sweat out toxins and impurities, while increasing circulation. This detoxification process helps the body function better with the potential to improve metabolism and waste production. Sauna usage also gives your heart a moderate workout by increasing the rate at which it pumps. In fact, a sauna session can elevate a user's heart rate to the equivalent of a jog or even a run. Sauna usage can also ease muscle pain, helping your body recuperate after a workout so you're ready to tackle the next one.

Best Sauna Usage

While using a sauna can help if you're struggling with weight loss or have reached a plateau in your weight loss goals, it is not intended as a sole means of achieving weight loss. Used in conjunction with a balanced diet and an exercise plan, sauna usage is a useful component of a healthy weight loss regimen.

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