Many people love to top off their workouts with a relaxing session in the steam room, and why not? Steam rooms offer relaxing comfort to sore, tight muscles and can ease the stress created by a long day at work. However, some mistakenly believe that steam rooms are a quick and easy solution to their weight loss aspirations. The fact is if you're looking to burn calories, a steam room probably won't do you much good.
You may wonder how many calories are burned while you're relaxing in a steam room. The answer is: not very many. While your body might burn a few calories in an attempt to manage your increasing body temperature, the reduction is hardly noticeable. Although many people believe that steam rooms contribute to weight loss, the fact is that they don't really burn any fat at all. Misconceptions stem from the fact that people tend to weigh less after an hour in a steam room than when they came in.
So, if steam rooms don't really burn calories, why do people generally weigh less after they leave them? The answer has something to do with water-weight. Because steam rooms are hot and humid, they usually cause people to sweat profusely. Since about 70 percent of the human body is made up of water, any reduction in this amount will result in temporary weight loss. Although steam rooms can cause the scale to dip, any weight loss you experience will likely be negated the next time you chug a glass of water or a sports drink.
Although steam rooms don't really burn calories, they do have some real benefits. They are great for relaxing tight, tense and sore muscles and they can ease stress and take the edge off of a worried mind. Also, some believe that steam rooms can improve overall health by stimulating circulation, cleansing skin, reducing throat irritation and increasing metabolism.
Because steam rooms make you sweat, they can cause the body to dehydrate rapidly. So, make sure to drink plenty of water before and after you use one. Also, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention recommend that pregnant women and the elderly either refrain from using steam rooms entirely, or use them with discretion.
The Bottom Line
Although steam rooms don't really burn calories, they do have their benefits. If you want to wind down after a tough workout or a long day, a steam room may be right for you. However, if you're looking to lose weight, your best bet is to adopt a healthy low-calorie diet and stick to a consistent exercise regimen.