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Woman sitting in a traditional, wooden sauna with a white towel wrapped around her body and head looking to her right

How Many Calories Do You Burn in a Sauna?

This is one of the most common questions we get asked but how many calories you can burn inside a sauna is very difficult to answer because it depends on a variety of factors. A person’s tolerance to heat, if they’re healthy and workout or not, and their current weight can all play a part in the number of calories they can burn in each session.

However, if you’re looking for a general rule of thumb, it’s widely accepted that you can start with 1.5 to 2 times the normal rate of calories burned if you’re just sitting stationary. Like in a chair or on a couch.

So for example, a 30-year-old male who weighs 176 lbs with a height of 5 foot 9 inches can expect to burn anywhere from 64 to 85 calories every 30 minutes while in a sauna. 

Without even moving your body, you can burn up to twice the amount of calories sitting in a sauna as you would sitting anywhere else. Which is pretty cool if you think about it!

How Does the Sauna Burn Calories?

Infrared saunas are proven to burn calories as well as belly fat. But what is the mechanism behind that?

What causes you to burn calories is your core body temperature rising due to the extreme heat of the sauna. As your temperature rises, your body begins to burn calories to try to regulate it from overheating.

One thing to note is that saunas shouldn’t be used as a primary means of burning calories. The amount they burn compared to proper diet and exercise is considerably less. But when all are used in conjunction, a sauna can help you burn additional calories that will certainly add up over time.

Does Sitting in a Sauna Burn Fat?

Yes, sitting in a sauna can help you burn fat. And it’s not just water weight.

A 4-month study at Binghamton University concluded that an average person can lose up to 4% body fat over 4 months with a consistent infrared sauna routine.

So how often should you use an infrared sauna for weight loss? According to the study, a consistent routine means 3 days per week at 45 minutes per day. If you can adhere to this, then you can experience added weight loss in addition to diet and exercise alone with a sauna.

Three women sitting in a sauna laughing

Actual Calories Burned In a Sauna Are Hard To Estimate

As we close out this article it’s important to note that although sitting in a sauna can burn calories, it shouldn’t replace a healthy diet and exercise routine. Think of sauna care as a secondary way to enhance your weight loss after you’ve developed a healthy lifestyle.

With that being said, the calories burned in a sauna for an individual at a healthy weight vs someone who’s unhealthy and overweight will vary. Healthier individuals will typically burn fewer calories than unhealthy individuals. So counting exactly how much you will personally burn in 10, 20, or 30-minute intervals isn’t an exact science, it’s a best guess. 

So go into your sauna experience knowing it will help you burn calories but don’t make it your primary goal. There are many more health benefits to sauna care that you can achieve during your sessions as well.

If you’re looking for the best-infrared sauna for burning calories, check out our Best Infrared Saunas to find the perfect sauna for you. And if you need help choosing the right one, feel free to contact us at or call our team of sauna experts at 800-791-8083 Monday-Friday, 9:00-5:00 CST.

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