Exercise shorts -- often called sauna shorts or slimming shorts -- purport to help you lose weight quickly by helping you sweat more. While you may lose weight using a pair of these shorts, the weight loss will be temporary because it's just water weight; you will gain it back once you start eating and drinking again. The only effective way to lose weight permanently is by expending more calories than you consume. Understanding how the process works can help you formulate an effective weight-loss plan and decide if you want to include exercise shorts.
Your Body's Cooling System
Sweating is the body's way of keeping cool. Elevated internal body heat triggers your sweat glands to release fluids onto your skin. In a moderate environment, the fluid evaporates and lowers your temperature. In a hot, humid environment, the sweat doesn't dry and your body heat can increase. Exercise shorts use the same principle: they keep sweat from evaporating, which makes you sweat even more.
Weight Loss through Calorie Reduction
To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume, and it takes an expenditure of 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat. Calories provide fuel for your muscles, your organs and numerous bodily functions. Wearing exercise shorts, sitting in a sauna or wearing a rubber suit doesn't significantly increase the number of calories you burn; it just makes you sweat more.
Temporary Water-Weight Loss
Wearing exercise shorts can increase the loss of water and electrolytes. The amount of water-weight you lose while wearing exercise shorts depends upon your activity level. Wrestlers, boxers, rowers and other athletes who have to be weighed before competing often wear exercise shorts to help them quickly lose a few pounds. However, like anyone else who sweats profusely, they will gain the weight back when they resume normal activities.
Risks Associated with Excessive Sweating
Wearing exercise shorts might not make you sweat as much as wearing a rubber suit or sitting in a sauna, but there is always a risk when you increase the amount you sweat. If you are in a warm, humid environment, that risk is increased. Dehydration can occur, which can make you confused and weak. If severe, dehydration can lead to organ failure and possibly death. Consult your medical doctor before you begin an exercise program.