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Healthy Weight Loss for Men and Women Between the Ages of 19-25 Years: Studies Show that Sauna Use May be the Answer

Attaining and maintaining a healthy weight or body mass index (BMI) for young people can feel like a battleground: The duel between the prolific availability of fast foods combined with an overall increase in sedentary lifestyle among America’s youth, juxtaposed with unrealistic beauty standards, can lead to the ingestion of weight loss promoting pharmaceutical products, and for most makes the actualization of a healthy BMI feel like a grueling journey. 

Sadly, cafeteria food available in high schools and on college campuses provide notoriously poor food choices. If consumed regularly and in excess, these foods can lead to an excess of white fat throughout the body. Further, the affordability of ready made microwave food, or fast food, can mean that many young people are rarely consuming whole foods. While the devastation to health that results from this diet is far greater than an increasing waistline, the icing on the cake is an increased sedentary lifestyle. For many young people this means scrolling through social media where they are exposed to unrealistic body types morphed by the likes of photoshop, and newly popularized pharmaceutical diet drugs such as Ozempic or Wegovy. This coalescence of circumstances can have disastrous effects on the emotions and body.

The aforementioned, and expensive, pharmaceuticals intended to aid in the treatment of Type II diabetes have become prevalent among celebrities whose body mass loss (BML) is skyrocketing to impossible to reach levels naturally. This landscape has put young people into a very challenging position. How can America’s youth reach a healthy BMI without turning to potentially dangerous drugs that are not intended to be used habitually to reach and maintain a healthy weight?

There are many options to help young folks reach a healthy BMI, but given how difficult it is to change the cafeteria menu and the cultural norm of fast foods, one option for sedentary youth looking to reach their personal weight goals, that will also promote other healthy side effects is sauna use. Using a sauna is a great way to jump start your journey to an ideal body weight without turning to potentially harmful pharmaceuticals.

**** A Special Note: There is a prevalence in the media of celebrities losing significant amounts of weight in a short period of time and many experts point to the use of semaglutide which is the active ingredient in the popular drug brands Ozempic and Wegovy. Novo Nordisk is the maker of Ozempic which was approved to Treat Type II diabetes, which has weight loss as a prominent side effect. Wegovy is typically prescribed as a weight loss drug for individuals who are dangerously obese. There are several other labels such as Zepbound and Mounjaro, for example that have the same active ingredient, none of these pharmaceuticals were intended for non-diabetics, and non-obese individuals to use for the sake of reaching very low weight for aesthetic purposes. (1)

This article does not aim to detail any of the side-effects surrounding the off label use of these drugs, but rather to provide a positive, safe, and scientifically sound alternative for young people to kick start their weight loss journey without endangering themselves with the use of drugs to do so. There are some cases of extreme obesity when these drugs can be life changing and very helpful, but for most young people stabilizing their weight naturally is much safer. 

Sauna use is a private and safe way to attain and maintain a healthy weight and this article will detail the reason for this as it pertains to individuals between the ages of 19-25.

The Science Behind Sauna Influenced Weight Loss in Young People

There is so much pressure on young people to look a certain way, and it is only getting worse with the prevalence of social media. It is also true that each individual based on their own genetic predisposition has a range for a healthy body mass index. No two people are created exactly alike, so a healthy BMI for one person may be different than for another. In general, in order to live a long and healthy life an individual should try to stay within a healthy weight for their bone structure and height. 

If a particularly sedentary adolescent or young adult is facing challenges with losing unwanted weight it can seem impossible to begin an exercise program. It is difficult enough to live with the pressures to meet superficial standards of beauty without the added self conscious challenges of exercising in a gym or other public locations. A study published by the National Institute of Health entitled: “ Sauna-induced body mass loss in young sedentary women and men”, suggests that the use of a sauna on a regular basis can lead the way for many youth back into a body that feels comfortable, that they can feel proud of, without turning to fad diets, or potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals. (2)

The study was conducted on a group of 674 sedentary students: The group was divided by 326 females and 348 males between the ages of 19-20. The students took two saunas that lasted for 10 minutes with a 5 minute break between during the course of the study. The results demonstrated that BMI was changed most in the individuals who were the most overweight: 

The smallest BML was noted in underweight subjects; students with normal weight lost more weight, whereas the greatest BML was reported in overweight and obese subjects. Persons with a high BMI are at higher risk of dehydration, and they should pay particular attention to replenishing fluids during a visit to the sauna.” (2)

Another study performed on 45 overweight men between the ages of 20-24, also demonstrated similar results. The researchers created a slightly more intense sauna protocol for this study compared to the previously mentioned one with the younger individuals involved. The latter study had the men take 4 successive sauna sessions lasting for 10 minutes with 5 minutes in between each one. Again, the results demonstrated that the more excessive weight an individual carried the more weight they lost during the sauna protocol:

Repeated use of Finnish sauna induces significant changes in the physiological parameters of young sedentary overweight men, and these changes are intensified during successive treatments. Deleterious cardiovascular adaptations were most prevalent in men characterized by the highest degree of obesity and the largest body size.” (3)

Not only were the participants able to attain healthy BMI, but they were also able to improve cardiovascular health as well as other essential biomarkers. For many overweight young people who are feeling self-conscious about exercising in public around their peers, a great option to jump start a fitness program that aims to achieve ideal body composition is a sauna program. To compound the results of using a sauna for weight loss individuals may want to consider adding cold therapy to aid in the transition of white fat to brown fat. 

Consider Contrast Therapy for Improved Weight Loss Results: White Fat to Brown Fat

When looking at a healthy BMI it is important to remember that not only do you want to ensure that there is a balance between fluids, muscle, skeletal structure, organ tissue, and fat, but moreover what type of fat is existing within the body. 

Human body fat is generally divided into 2 separate categories: Brown fat and white fat. Brown fat is considered healthier because there is on average 5 times as many mitochondria (an energy conversion plant in each individual cell responsible for cellular metabolism and regeneration) compared with white fat. Adipose (fat) tissue extends throughout the entire body and therefore the type of fat that each individual has plays a tremendous role in overall health, vitality, and available energy. (4)

If you are an adolescent or young adult looking toward sauna use for weight loss consider adding a cold shower, cold plunge, or ice bath once a week to encourage the conversion of white fat to brown fat. While there are many overlapping benefits between sauna use and cold therapy the positive fat conversion seen in cold exposure does not occur in the sauna. 

Do Saunas Only Help to Lose Water Weight, or is There Something More to the Weight Loss Mechanism Behind Thermal Therapy?

Probably the biggest misconception about saunas and weight loss is that the only thing lost during a sauna session is fluid. Anyone believing this would be remiss as it is true that an individual can expect to lose about a pint of fluid per sauna session, what is failed to be understood is that heat stress as experienced in a sauna causes a cascade of events in the body that uses a lot of energy. The energy needed to induce sweating, raise heart rate, and essentially simulates exercise, and this is the real reason why BMI is changed over the course of regular sauna sessions. 

So, the reason why sauna use is such a powerful tool for anyone’s weight loss journey is because it mimics exercise and burns significant calories in the act of thermal regulation. It is very important to drink plenty of water before, during, and after each and every sauna session. 

Contraindications: Eating Disorders, Hydration, and a Healthy Diet

Hopefully this article will encourage anyone, particularly young adults to turn to sauna therapy to jump start their weight loss journey rather than the popular, but potentially dangerous, pharmaceuticals that so many celebrities have turned to recently to lose weight. In general, saunas are both a safe, as well as private means to attaining your ideal BMI.

The research has shown that saunas are an excellent way to lose weight and the data has even been measured with the health of young people at the forefront. It is not an easy time to be a young adult with so much exposure to unrealistic beauty standards and with such easy access to food that accelerates weight gain. 

If you do already have a diagnosed eating disorder, then be sure to work with your health care provider to be sure that sauna use is appropriate for you. Sauna use is not a replacement for a healthy diet full of whole foods, vegetables, and healthy drinking water. To find the best diet for your body type, work with a nutritionist and leave the fad diets behind. 

If you are between the ages of 18 and 25, and are looking for a way to reach your ideal BMI then consider what the data has shown regarding regular sauna use. If you do decide to start using a sauna, be sure to stay well hydrated and follow our post sauna cleansing protocol to keep your skin healthy and radiant!

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