How Many Calories Does a Sauna Burn? (With Calculators)
Imagine this: You and your partner are sitting in your brand-new barrel sauna, contemplating the view from the panoramic window, and suddenly one of you asks: ”How many calories do you think we are burning right now?”
It might sound like an innocent question, but it is an important one nonetheless.
Every time I’m in the sauna, I always wonder how many calories does a sauna burns, and therefore I made a quick Google search to help me find the sacred answer, but I was quickly overwhelmed by how many different answers you are presented with!
According to some sites, I burnt as many calories sitting in a sauna as doing a HIIT workout…
So, I took it upon myself to give you the best answer to a very simple question in this article: How many calories does a sauna burn?
Sauna Calories Calculators
Sauna calorie calculator
Based on recent studies and research, here is a calculator that gives you a rough estimate of how many calories are burned in a sauna.
Other factors (age, gender, height, heat tolerance, etc) might influence the data but for the sake of simplicity, I have just included weight and how long you stayed in the sauna, all that at the common temperature of 79 degrees Celsius:
Sauna Calorie Burn Calculator
How many calories does a sauna burn?
For a dry sauna (the most popular), you burn between 20 to 40 calories in 15 minutes. In the infrared sauna, however, you could burn up to 300 calories, according to studies!
Those high numbers you see on the internet? These are the numbers for the infrared sauna. Don’t mistake average infrared sauna calories burnt with the traditional dry sauna.
Because the number of calories burned in a sauna varies significantly, it’s hard to give you a straightforward answer.
Many factors determine the calories burned in a sauna such as time spent, your weight, your age, your height, your metabolic rate, and many more that add up.
What is known is the following: Sitting in a dry sauna can burn up to 2x more calories than sitting anywhere.
This is primarily because the benefits of a sauna include increased heart rate and a slight elevation in metabolic rate, similar to what you would experience during a light cardiovascular exercise.
While this does contribute to weight loss, it’s important to understand that a significant portion of the weight lost in a sauna is water weight.
Through sweat, your body dishes out excess water and minerals. This is quickly regained once you rehydrate.
Does that mean that the sauna doesn’t actually help with weight loss?
How Sauna Helps Losing Weight
While you might shed off a few pounds, and burn a few extra calories inside, the sauna does not help with weight loss…in the short term.
This is because you lose water weight through sweat which brings the scale number down…
However, just like cold plunges, the long-term effects of a sauna will absolutely help with weight loss. Regular sauna use improves your metabolic rate, and this, in turn, will burn these calories faster!
When it comes to weight loss goals and sauna, you don’t aim to lose weight…instead, you aim to improve the tool (your body) that burns the calories, which in turn will lose weight, calories, fat, and all that good stuff you want to get rid of.
How to Calculate Calories Burned in a Sauna?
To get the best number of calories burned while sitting in a sauna, you must factor in different inputs for the most accurate answer possible.
You will need a tracker for your heart rate and a timer of course! If you don’t have this equipment, you can use average numbers!
Step 1: Find Your Baseline Metabolic Rate (BMR)
Your BMR is the calories your body needs to maintain basic functions while at rest. This varies based on your age, gender, weight, and height. You can easily find BMR calculators online; just input your details to get your number. Here is a good BMR calculator.
Step 2: Note the Duration
Keep track of how long you stay in the sauna, as more time generally means more calories burned.
Step 3: Calculate the Increased Heart Rate Factor
This is the change in your heart rate when you go in the sauna. Note your resting HR (when you are doing nothing), and your HR while in the sauna. This is where your smartwatch or fitness tracker comes in handy.
The HR increases usually by 30-50%.
Step 4: Do the Math
Enter these numbers in the calculator below!
Accurate Calorie Calculator
Factors That Determine How Saunas Burn Calories
The calorie-burning effectiveness of sauna bathing isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario. Various factors play a crucial role in determining how your body burns calories in a sauna.
Understanding these can help you optimize your sauna sessions for maximum benefit. Let’s break down the key factors:
Time Spent in the Sauna
The duration of your sauna session significantly impacts calorie burn.
Longer sessions mean more time for your body to work at cooling itself, leading to more calories burned. However, balancing time with safety is essential to avoid dehydration or overheating.
Temperature of the Sauna
Higher temperatures can increase the rate at which your body burns calories.
The more intense the heat, the harder your body works to regulate its temperature, thus burning more calories.
The average temperature in a sauna is 80 degrees Celsius.
Types of Saunas
Different saunas – like traditional Finnish saunas (your typical sauna in the gym, AKA dry sauna), infrared saunas, or steam rooms – operate at varying temperature ranges and produce heat differently, which can affect calorie expenditure.
Age and Gender
Just like exercise needs, these biological factors can vary the calories burned in the sauna by influencing your metabolism rate, which in turn affects how many calories you burn.
Generally, younger individuals and males tend to have a higher metabolic rate, leading to more calories burned in a sauna.
Individual Heat Tolerance
Your personal tolerance to heat can dictate how long you can safely stay in a sauna and at what temperature, thereby affecting the calorie burn.
Just like an ice bath, your tolerance to the extreme temperature can vary the benefits you get. If you tolerate the heat more than others, then your body won’t work as hard to cool itself as someone who isn’t that tolerant.
So, does a sauna burn calories? Absolutely! How many? Well, it’s a complicated formula that takes in all the factors mentioned.
Now it’s important to know these numbers if you’re tracking your caloric intake and outtake, and are planning to lose weight.
The calculators I provided are a good start for the best answer.
However, the most important is that you get yourself in a sauna. As we know, a sauna has amazing health benefits, especially after a workout, which include lower mortality rates, as well as burning calories!
So, my fellow sauna user, I will see you in the hot room!
How many calories does 30 minutes in a sauna burn?
A 30-minute session in a sauna can burn between 300 to 600 calories. However, this number can vary based on factors like the temperature of the sauna, your age, gender, and physical condition.
Is a sauna good for weight loss?
Saunas have multiple health benefits, and they can complement a weight loss plan by burning calories and promoting relaxation, which can indirectly support weight management.
However, they should not be relied upon as the sole method for weight loss. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are crucial for effective and sustainable weight loss.
What does 15 minutes in a sauna do?
Spending 15 minutes in a sauna can help your body relax, increase your heart rate, and induce sweating.
This process aids in burning some calories (though less than a 30-minute session) and can also help in detoxification, improving circulation, and relieving muscle tension.
Can you burn 600 calories in a sauna?
It’s possible to burn up to 600 calories in a sauna session, particularly in a high-temperature setting and for individuals with specific body compositions.
However, this is on the higher end of the spectrum and not a guarantee for every sauna user. Factors such as individual metabolism, the sauna’s heat intensity, and the duration of the sauna session play significant roles in determining the exact calorie burn.
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MediLexicon International. (n.d.). Saunas and weight loss: Possible links and more. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/do-saunas-help-you-lose-weight#:~:t