Do Sauna Burn Calories? How to Calculate it?

Sauna bath and calories burn are directly associated with each other, but the proposed figures are usually misleading. The most coined figure, 300 Calories per 30 minutes is preposterous.  

The short answer to the question, ‘Do saunas Burn Calories?’ is of course yes, but our body is burning calories all the time. Even while sitting we are killing calories. Sauna bathing acts as a catalyst that fast track burning.

Before we move on to how many calories we burn in the sauna let’s cover some basics.

Can Burning Calories In Sauna Lead To Weight Loss?

Not necessarily. Weight loss is contingent on a lot of different factors among which the most prominent are nutrition, pre-existing health, and fitness habits. Burning calories is only effective when you complement it with a proper diet.

Only when you are burning more calories than what you are intaking as food or beverages, you lose weight. Sauna helps you to fulfill the first requirement, the second part depends on your commitment to eating properly.

Weight Loss Vs Water Loss, What Should You Strive For?

A common misconception about saunas is that it makes you achieve instant weight loss. And what further adds to this misconception are the numbers.

Right after taking a sauna bath, (for approx. 30 minutes), if you measure your weight on a scale, it would mark about 5 lb less than your previous weight. Don’t be a fool by it. You have just lost water, not fats. As soon as you rehydrate, the water is going to come back and along with it the extra weight.

sweaty woman sitting inside a sauna

Calculate How Many Calories You May Burn In The Sauna

As we all have different body types, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to calculate calories burned in the sauna. All we have are estimates which are going to share with you.

As a rule of thumb, you can take 1.2-1.5 times the multiplier for sauna bathing than the normal rate of your body.

Let’s say you weigh 200 pounds and burn 60 calories just by sitting idle for 30 minutes. Then if you go through a sauna session for the same period, you burn almost 72-90 calories. The difference is not very high, but significant.

Keep in mind that this calorie burn estimate in a sauna can vary greatly and can be as high as 2x-3x the normal burn rate of your body.

A moderate exercise burns as many calories as an intense sauna bath. However, the sauna is no replacement for intense exercise. It might help you shed weight but cannot help in muscle gain.

Hazard Involved In Losing Calories In The Sauna

The most obvious and the most dangerous is dehydration. This one you should avoid at all costs. The intense sweating in the sauna if not supplemented by drinking water before, during, and after sauna can lead to various dehydration symptoms like dryness in the mouth, extreme thirst, headache, feeling dizzy or lightheaded.


In a nutshell, sauna bathing does burn calories more than what we normally burn. The results are similar to that of moderate exercise. But, you should not push it to the extreme by staying in too long or turning it up too high.

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