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Here’s how we would describe a sauna suit: inventive, has great marketing, but also, gimmicky, ineffective and dangerous. No matter how dapper The Contender boxers look or how toned Britney Spears abs are in sauna suits, we shouldn’t be in a hurry to fill our closets with rubberized vinyl (actually, how about never?).
What’s with all the hate? Well, because sauna suits could do more harm than good to the body.
How Does a Sauna Suit Work?
When we run, or do any workout, our body heats up. Adjusting to the rise in core temperature, the body produces sweat that would then evaporate and cool us down.
Now, enter sauna suits and we may just screw up the system big time.
Sauna suits are made of either rubberized vinyl or nylon. These materials aren’t exactly great with sweat. When we run in sauna suits, sweat is trapped and unable to evaporate. Hence, the body will produce even more sweat in desperate attempts to prevent overheating.
All gross feelings from swimming in our own sweat aside, the profuse sweating can give a cleansing or purifying feel we get after a sauna session. Also, because of all the liquid lost, the number on the scale may suddenly look very optimistic, which is why sauna suits are such big hits among boxers and fighters who want to drop some pounds before the weigh-ins.
But, even the National Collegiate Athletic Association has banned the use of sauna suits in 1998 after the death of two wrestlers who exercised while wearing them.
Grim as it sounds, death isn’t surprising considering just what sauna suits can do to the body.
Dehydration and Heat Stroke
We can’t ignore the bullet sweats that get to our eyes and form around the lips when we’re slaving away on the track. That’s because the body can lose a lot of liquid on its own as our muscles produce 15-20 times more heat when we’re running than when we’re chilling.
Imagine putting on the sauna suit in this heated moment. We’re gonna be losing a lot of fluid really quickly. The blood flow to the skin and muscles will start to shut down to preserve water. Lacking oxygen, the muscles will break down, clogging the kidneys and heart with proteins. And it’s just gonna go from worse to tragic from here on out.
If dehydration somehow doesn’t slow you down, heat stroke might do the trick, especially in the all-year-round-summer land, Singapore. Even with a proper attire, running can be dangerous in our warm and humid climate.
The heat from the body plus the sauna suit plus the weather… Really, why would you do this to yourself? If indeed, by any chance, the claim was true that more sweat equals to more fat loss, then everyone in Singapore would be emaciated.
So, save yourself the dizziness, the fainting, the cramping from heat stroke and just bin the sauna suit (if you haven’t already).
Temporary Fat Loss
Running in sauna suit can make you lose weight in a matter of hours. However, know that the weight will come back just as quickly. In fact, as soon as you drink a glass of water. Nope, we’re not exaggerating.
Because the weight loss is mainly due to the excessive loss of fluid in the body, as soon as we rehydrate, the weight will return. Instead of sweating away in sauna suits, we may be better off hydrating ourselves well, which would allow us to run longer and further.
So, if somebody asks us what we think of running in sauna suits, our answer is (and will always be) a big, fat NO.
When we run in sauna suits, sweat is trapped and unable to evaporate. Hence, the body will produce even more sweat in desperate attempts to prevent overheating.
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