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Can You Lose Weight in a Steam Room?

Steam rooms are notable for their high humidity.  Because the heat created in a steam room comes from steam generated by boiling water, the relative humidity in a steam room can reach 100%.  The wet heat produced by a steam room means that it’s more difficult to bear higher temperatures that are typically found in a sauna.  However, even at these lower temperatures (steam rooms typically run at around 100 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit while saunas often operate at over 150 degrees) there are many health benefits that can be experienced.  Can you lose weight in a steam room?  It can definitely happen, but most of this weight loss is related to dehydration.  That said, some of the other health benefits associated with steam room use can aid with weight loss indirectly.  In this article we’ll go over the various benefits of using a steam room.

Calorie Burning

Because of the elevated temperatures, your heart rate is increased.  If you use a steam room after exercise, your elevated heart rate will be sustained.  This combination of a regular exercise program and regular steam room use has been found to increase the health benefits of both.  More calories are burned and the possibility of weight loss is increased.  That being said, regular use of the steam room isn’t a quick way to lose weight.  As mentioned previously, most weight loss is associated with dehydration and will be regained after rehydration.  However, combining exercise and steam room use can amplify the weight loss effects.

Exercise Recovery

Overexertion during exercise can lead to pain.  Pain may prevent you from continuing with your exercise routine.  However, it’s been found that heat therapy can reduce the amount of pain experienced from overexertion due to exercise.  The less pain you feel, the more likely that you’ll be able to continue your exercise and reap the health benefits that provides.  By reducing the amount of pain you experience after a workout, you may find that regular steam room use helps with your weight loss goals.

Sleep

It’s been found that there’s a correlation between those who have a difficult time sleeping and the prevalence of obesity.  Getting a good night’s rest is an important part of an effective weight loss program.  The reasons for this aren’t completely clear, but it’s thought that the likelihood of sticking to a weight loss program is more difficult if you’re not getting enough rest.  Spending time in a steam room an hour or two before bedtime has been found to allow one to fall asleep faster and have a more restful sleep throughout the night.  It’s thought that the effects of the high temperatures in the steam room stimulate the body’s natural thermoregulation processes which can play a role in the onset of sleep.

Stress

Stress reduction has also been found to play a role in greater success with a weight loss program.  The thinking is that when one is constantly stressed out, it’s more difficult to eat properly and adhere to a weight loss program menu.  Chronic stress can lead to the production of hormones that increase feelings of hunger while suppressing feelings of fullness.  When one is stressed, there’s a tendency to crave sugars, fats, salts and other high energy foods.  Spending time in a steam room can help relax both the body and the mind.  The increase in internal body temperature causes blood vessel dilation which ultimately leads to reduced blood pressure.  Muscles are relaxed, the production of stress causing hormones is decreased, flexibility is increased and pain is reduced.  Time spent in a steam room can also be used to relax the mind and separate oneself from the conditions that increase levels of anxiety and tension in the first place.

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