If a flatter stomach is tops on your list of fitness goals, you might be drawn to advertisements for sauna suits, which typically promise quick weight-loss results. Sauna suits fall into the category of questionable weight-loss tools, however; despite claims, they probably aren't going to help you safely lose weight. In some cases, your quest to achieve a slimmer tummy this way could result in the development of serious health problems.
Sauna suits, made of non-breathable materials such as nylon and neoprene, are designed to increase your body temperature to help you sweat more during your workout. Although you might appear to have a flatter belly after working out while wearing a sauna suit, any weight you lose is due to your sweat. Weight loss as a result of sweat loss does not last. As soon as you rehydrate after your workout, you'll immediately replace the water you lost through sweat and return to your pre-workout weight.
In addition to not helping you lose weight effectively, sauna suits can be dangerous because they may elevate your body's temperature to unsafe levels. Wearing a sauna suit can lead to dehydration, exhaustion and more severe issues such as heat stroke and electrolyte loss, according to Military.com. If you're considering wearing a sauna suit for a workout, consult a doctor first -- your desire to get a flat stomach quickly may not be worth the risk.
While sauna suits might not be ideal for the average person hoping to lose a few pounds around the middle, they are commonly used by athletes involved in fighting sports such as boxing and wrestling. Because fighters must adhere to rigid weight classes, they will often work out vigorously while wearing a sauna suit. This enables them to quickly shed the required weight and qualify for competition.
Flat Stomach Know-How
If you carry extra fat over your stomach, the most effective way to burn it is to eat a healthy diet and perform aerobic exercise regularly. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting 150 minutes or more weekly of aerobic exercise such as jogging, cycling, swimming and even dancing. While you might eventually get a flat stomach from running on a treadmill while wearing a sauna suit, it's the aerobic exercise, not the suit, that will lead to success.
- MayoClinic.com: Exercise for Weight Loss: Calories Burned in 1 Hour
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
- Harvard Medical School: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- Military.com: Weight Loss Myths
- Los Angeles Times: Fat Burner? Your Gut Tells You it's a Stretch
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.