Does the sauna/steam room have the same effects as a cardio workout?

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Question:

Hi Marc

I remember reading somehwhere that using the sauna and/or steam room has the same effect as a cardio workout, i can see how this might work as they certainly raise your heart rate, is there any truth in this and if so, to what degree ?

Thanks

Joe
P.S. your podcast is excellent, i’ve got some very good advice over the last few months, keep it up.

Answer:

Joe,

While I can see your metabolism and heart rate being boosted by using the sauna or steam room, it simply does not have the same cardiovascular benefits or the same fat burning effects that a HIIT style cardio workout would have.

Bottom line, there are health benefits to both and some may even overlap but a cardio workout is vastly different from using the sauna or steam room. You will not simulate the effects by sitting in a warm/hot location.

A combination of both would be ideal. One for the cardio benefits and the other for the relaxing and cleansing effects.

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11 Responses to "Does the sauna/steam room have the same effects as a cardio workout?"

  1. Silver Streak:
    December 03, 2006 05:36 am

    Saunas help promote relaxation by easing muscle tension and aches and promoting an environment that is relaxing for everyone. Infrared heat therapy provided by saunas is a healthy choice for those wanting to relax and stay healthy. You can be assured that your in home sauna will save you money in the long run; just think you will no longer have to obtain a membership at your local gym just to use their sauna.More sauna information

    Leave a reply  
  2. Silver Streak:
    December 03, 2006 05:36 am

    Saunas help promote relaxation by easing muscle tension and aches and promoting an environment that is relaxing for everyone. Infrared heat therapy provided by saunas is a healthy choice for those wanting to relax and stay healthy. You can be assured that your in home sauna will save you money in the long run; just think you will no longer have to obtain a membership at your local gym just to use their sauna.
    More sauna information

    Leave a reply  
  3. Charlie Cory:
    December 07, 2006 05:00 pm

    I tend to agree. Whilst not denigrating the benefits of a sauna, it would certainly not have the same effect on your CV system as a proper work out would.Equally, I would suggest that people who use sauna’s as a method of weight control need to think very carefully. Weight loss through the displacement of fluid is at best temporary and at worst dangerous.Infrared Sauna

    Leave a reply  
  4. Charlie Cory:
    December 07, 2006 05:00 pm

    I tend to agree. Whilst not denigrating the benefits of a sauna, it would certainly not have the same effect on your CV system as a proper work out would.

    Equally, I would suggest that people who use sauna’s as a method of weight control need to think very carefully. Weight loss through the displacement of fluid is at best temporary and at worst dangerous.

    Infrared Sauna

    Leave a reply  
  5. Di Vapor:
    December 13, 2006 02:48 am

    It’s true. Whilst sauna and steam does increase he heart beat and increases metabolism, the effect for cardiovascular training aren’t nearly as far reaching as a run or a swim at 80% heart rate capacity. Steam rooms and saunas have other major health benefits which cardiovascular training doesn’t. I say both are good.Steam Shower

    Leave a reply  
  6. Di Vapor:
    December 13, 2006 02:48 am

    It’s true. Whilst sauna and steam does increase he heart beat and increases metabolism, the effect for cardiovascular training aren’t nearly as far reaching as a run or a swim at 80% heart rate capacity. Steam rooms and saunas have other major health benefits which cardiovascular training doesn’t. I say both are good.

    Steam Shower

    Leave a reply  
  7. Troon:
    December 28, 2006 06:28 pm

    Infrared heat saunas pass electricity through the chemical based elements to give off electromagnetism in the infrared spectrum. Infrared light is part of the sun’s invisible light spectrum and also used in infrared sauna therapy for good health. Beautiful skin is one way having a sauna can bring peace and happiness to your life; skin is the largest organ in the body. Sauna Advice

    Leave a reply  
  8. Troon:
    December 28, 2006 06:28 pm

    Infrared heat saunas pass electricity through the chemical based elements to give off electromagnetism in the infrared spectrum. Infrared light is part of the sun’s invisible light spectrum and also used in infrared sauna therapy for good health. Beautiful skin is one way having a sauna can bring peace and happiness to your life; skin is the largest organ in the body. Sauna Advice

    Leave a reply  
  9. whirlpool baths:
    August 01, 2009 04:23 am

    I would have thought the sauna would have been better use after a workout for relaxing muscles etc?

    Leave a reply  
  10. whirlpool baths:
    August 01, 2009 11:23 am

    I would have thought the sauna would have been better use after a workout for relaxing muscles etc?

    Leave a reply  
  11. Sauna:
    May 28, 2010 04:45 pm

    Saunas do increase heart rate, but I have found no proof of their ability to seriously burn calories. I've heard mention of a study by the US army at http://www.saunaaa.com but have yet to see the study. The study apparently shows that they do burn a significant amount of calories.

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