Do Steam Rooms Help You Lose Weight?

Losing weight can be a struggle, so it's no surprise that many people are looking for shortcuts to help them slim down faster and easier. You may have heard that sitting in a steam room can help you lose weight. While there's some truth to this, it's not as promising as it sounds. Using a steam room to help you lose weight is a temporary fix that can have permanent consequences.

Woman relaxing in a steam room.
Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Weight Loss Potential

Steam rooms are typically heated to a temperature between 110 and 114 degrees Fahrenheit. This high temperature causes you to sweat, meaning your body loses water. From this perspective, sitting in a steam room can indeed help you lose a moderate amount of weight, but it's important to note that you're losing water weight, not fat. As soon as you leave the steam room and start drinking water again, you'll gain back any weight lost. You're far better off working up a sweat by exercising, which will help you burn calories and shed fat from your body.

Water Weight

While it might be tempting to use a steam room to lose a bit of water weight before a special event, doing so can have serious consequences. When you sweat, your body loses both water and electrolytes. Losing too much of these vital substances puts you at risk for heat stroke, kidney damage, heart-related emergencies and even death. If you need to lose a few pounds quickly, try doing 60 to 90 minutes of daily high-intensity cardio and cutting your daily calorie intake by 500; this will help you lose fat without risking your health.

Benefits of the Steam Room

You shouldn't count on using a steam room to help you lose weight, but if you really enjoy a sweaty steam room session, try using it as a reward for exercising. Many gyms and fitness clubs are equipped with steam rooms, so promise yourself you can enjoy 10 minutes of steam for every 30 minutes you spend working out. You'll have a great excuse to hit the gym every day, and the moist heat of the steam room will offer a relaxing finish after a tough workout.

Steam Room Safety

Steam rooms are a great place to relax and relieve stress, but they can also be unsafe if they're used improperly. The extreme heat of a steam room can cause dehydration and affect both your pulse and blood pressure, making it a dangerous place for pregnant women, people with heart conditions, high or low blood pressure and epilepsy, and people taking antibiotics or mind-altering drugs, including alcohol. Even if you don't have any of these conditions, stay hydrated in the steam room and leave immediately if you feel dizzy or lightheaded.

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