Sauna-induced body mass loss in physically inactive young women and men

Open access


Study aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between basic somatic features (body mass and height) and body mass loss in physically inactive young women and men exposed to thermal stress in a dry sauna.

Materials and methods: The research was conducted in 2015 on 685 first-year full-time students (333 women, 352 men), aged 19–20 years old. Nude body mass was measured after the students dried off before and after using the sauna.

Results: An analysis of regression equations indicated that an increase in the body mass of women and men leads to a significant increase in sauna-induced body mass loss. On the other hand, body mass loss decreased with an increase in height in women and men, but to a smaller extent. From among the tested somatic features, body height and body mass, body mass had a decisive influence on body mass loss. Body height had a minimal and statistically non-significant impact on body mass loss.

Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that heavier individuals have an increased risk of dehydration and hyperthermia. Therefore, they should pay close attention to replenishing fluids lost in the sauna. The determination of body mass loss values after a visit to a dry sauna has practical significance because it supports the estimation of the fluid volume required for the maintenance of correct water balance.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • 1. Ahonen E. U. Nousiainen (1988) The sauna and body fluid balance. Ann. Clin. Res. 20: 257-261.

  • 2. Avellini B. E. Kamon J.T. Krajewski (1980) Physiological responses of physically fit men and women to acclimation to humid heat. J. Appl. Physiol. 49: 254-261.

  • 3. Barr S.I. (1999) Effects of dehydration on exercise performance. Can. J. Appl. Physiol. 24(2): 164-172.

  • 4. Buono M.J. S.M. Leichliter J.H. Heaney (2010) Peripheral sweat gland function but not whole-body sweat rate increases in women following humid heat acclimation. J. Therm. Biol. 35: 134-137.

  • 5. Coles M.G. A. Hernández T.R. Anderson (2006) Effect of thermal-induced dehydration on vo2 recovery time and heart rate response. J. Exerc. Sci. Fit. 4(1): 36-41.

  • 6. Craig C.L. A.L. Marshall M. Sjöström MA.E. Bauman M.L. Booth B.E. Ainsworth M. Patt U. Eukelund A. Yngve J.F. Sallis P. Oja (2003) International physical activity questionnaire: 12-country reliability and validity. Med. Sci. Sports. Exerc. 35(8): 1381-1395.

  • 7. Dobosz J. (2012) Tabele punktacyjne wysokości i masy ciała oraz wskaźników smukłości i BMI uczniów gimnazjów i szkół ponadgimnazjalnych [Score tables of body height body mass and slenderness and BMI ratios of middle school and high school students]. AWF Press Warszawa.

  • 8. Frye A.J. E. Kamon (1981) Responses to dry heat of men and women with similar aerobic capacities. J. Appl. Physiol. 50: 65-70.

  • 9. Ghods M. C. Corterier K. Zindel M. Kiene K. Rudolf M. Steen (2008) Hot air sauna burns. Burns 34: 122-124.

  • 10. Hannuksela M. S. Ellahham (2001) Benefits and risks of sauna bathing. Am. J. Med. 110: 118-126.

  • 11. Havenith G. (1997) Individual Heat Stress Response. Ponsen en Looijen Press Thesis. Nijmegen University Vageningen.

  • 12. Hawkins C. (1987) The sauna: killer or healer? Br. Med. J. 295: 1015-1016.

  • 13. Hertig B.A. (1971) Human physiological responses to heat stress: males and females compared. J. Physiol. (Paris) 63: 270-273.

  • 14. Kaupinen K. I. Vuori (1986) Man in the sauna. Ann. Clin. Res. 18: 173-185.

  • 15. Kaupinen K. (1989) Sauna shower and ice water immersion. Physiological responses to brief exposures to heat cool and cold. Part III. Body temperatures.” Arch. Med. Res. 48: 75-86.

  • 16. Kauppinen K. (1997) Facts and fables about sauna. Ann. New York Acad. Sci. 813: 654-662.

  • 17. Kenny G O. Jay (2007) Evidence of a greater onset threshold for sweating in females following intense exercise. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 101: 487-493.

  • 18. Kiss D. W. Popp C. Wagner H. Zwick K. Sertl (1994) Effects of the sauna on diffusing capacity pulmonary function and cardiac output in healthy subjects. Respiration 61: 86-88.

  • 19. Kohrt W.M. M.T. Malley G.P. Dalsky J.O. Holloszy (1992) Body composition of healthy sedentary and trained young and older men and women. Med. Sci. Sport Exerc. 24(7): 832-837.

  • 20. Koski A. V. Koljonen J. Vuola (2005) Rhabdomyolysis caused by hot air sauna burn. Burns 31: 776-779.

  • 21. Kozłowski S. B. Saltin (1964) Effect of sweat loss on body fluids. J. Appl. Physiol. 19(6): 1119-1124.

  • 22. Kukkonen-Harjula K. K. Kauppinen (2006) Health effects and risks of sauna bathing. Int. J. Cir. Health. 65(3): 195-205.

  • 23. Leppäluoto J. M. Tuominen A. Väänänen J. Karpakka J. Vouri (1986) Some cardiovascular and metabolic effects of repeated sauna bathing. Acta Physiol. Scand. 128: 77-81.

  • 24. Mack G.W. E.R. Nadel (1996) Body fluid balance during heat stress in humans. In: M.J. Fregly and C.M. Blatteis (eds.) Environmental physiology. Oxford University Press New York pp. 187-214.

  • 25. Maughan R.J. S.M. Shirreffs S.S. Ozgűnen G. Kurdak M. Ersöz S. Binnet J. Dvorak (2010) Living training and playing in the heat: challenges to the football player and strategies for coping with environmental extremes. Scand. J. Med. Sci. Sport. 20(3): 117-124.

  • 26. Maughan R.J. (2003) Impact of mild dehydration on wellness and on exercise performance. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 57 Suppl. 2: 19-23.

  • 27. Mehnert P. P. Bröde B. Griefahn (2002) Gender-related difference in sweat loss and its impact on exposure limits to heat stress. Int. J. Ind. Ergon. 29: 343-351.

  • 28. Montain S.J. E.F. Coyle (1992) Influence of graded dehydration on hyperthermia and cardiovascular drift during exercise. J. Appl. Physiol. 73: 1340-1350.

  • 29. Montain S.J. W.A. Latzka M.N. Sawka (1995) Control of thermoregulatory sweating is altered by hydration level and exercise intensity. J. Appl. Physiol. 79: 1434-1439.

  • 30. Nybo L. J. Thorbjørn B. Nielsen J. González-Alonso (2001) Effects of marked hyperthermia with and without dehydration on VO2 kinetics during intense exercise. J. Appl. Physiol. 90: 1057-1064.

  • 31. Papp A. (2002) Sauna-related burns: a review of 154 cases treated in Kuopio University Hospital Burn Center 1994–2000. Burns 28: 57-59.

  • 32. Pilch W. Z. Szyguła T. Pałka T. Cisoń Ż. Małgorzata (2006) Changes in chosen physiological parameters observed in women during sauna bath after overheating of the body due to excessive temperatures. Med. Sport. Practica 7(4): 50-53.

  • 33. Pilch W. Z. Szyguła M. Zychowska M. Gawinek (2003) The influence of sauna training on the hormonal system of young women. J. Hum. Kinet. 9: 19-30.

  • 34. Rabiej M. (2012) Statystyka z programem Statistica [Statistics with program Statistica]. Gliwice: Helion S.A. Press.

  • 35. Saltin B D.L. Costill (1988) Fluid and electrolyte balance during prolonged exercise. In: E.S. Horton R.J. Tenjung (eds.) Exercise nutrition and metabolism. Macmillan New York pp. 150-158.

  • 36. Sawka M. F. Coyle (1999) Influence of body water and blood volume on thermoregulation and exercise performance in the heat. Exerc. Sport Sci. Rev. 27: 167-218.

  • 37. Sawka M.N. S.J. Montain (2000) Fluid and electrolyte supplementation for exercise heat stress. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 72: 564-572.

  • 38. Sawka M.N. K.B. Pandolf (1990) Effects of body water loss on physiological function and exercise performance.” In: C.V. Gisolfi D.R. Lamb (eds.) Perspectives in Exercise Science and Sports Medicine (Vol. 3) Fluid Homeostasis during Exercise. Benchmark Press Carmel Indiana pp. 1-38.

  • 39. Sawka M.N. A.J. Young R.P. Francesconi S.R. Muza K.B. Pandolf (1985) Thermoregulatory and blood responses during exercise at graded hypohydration levels. J. Appl. Physiol. 59: 1394-1401.

  • 40. Schoffstall J.E. J.D. Branch B.C. Leutholtz D.P. Swain (2001) Effect of dehydration and rehydration on the one-repetition maximum bench press of weight-trained males. J. Strength Con. Res. 15: 102-108.

  • 41. Shirreffs S.M. M.N. Sawka M. Stone (2006) Water and electrolyte needs for football training and match-play. J. Sport Sci. 24: 699-707.

  • 42. Szyguła Z. A. Jurczak (1993) Effects of dehydration and overhydration on anaerobic power. Biol. Sport 10: 159-165.

  • 43. Thomas B. J. Cornish B.H. Ward L.C.A. Jacobs (2006) Bioimpedance: Is it a predictor of true water volume? Ann. New York Acad. Sci. 873(3): 89-93.

  • 44. Watson P. I.D. Watson R. Batt (1980) Total body water volumes for adult males and females estimated from simple anthropometric measurements. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 33: 27-39.

  • 45. Weinman K.P. Z. Siabochova E.M. Berneuer T. Morimoto F. Sargent (1967) Reactions of men and women to repeated exposures to humid heat. J. Appl. Physiol. 22: 533-538.

  • 46. Westerterp-Plantenga M. C.R.T. Verwegen M.J.W. Ijedema N.E.G. Wijckmans W.H.M. Saris (1997) Acute Effects of Exercise or Sauna on Appetite in Obese and Nonobese Men. Physiol. Behav. 62(6): 1345-1354.

  • 47. Ylikahri R. E. Heikkonen A. Suokas (1988) The sauna and alcohol. Ann. Clin. Res. 20: 287-291.

Journal information
Impact Factor

CiteScore 2018: 0.38

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.144
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.432

Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 359 103 11
PDF Downloads 161 56 7