Differential Effects of Sauna-, Diuretic-, and Exercise-Induced Hypohydration

J Appl Physiol Respir Environ Exerc Physiol. 1984 Oct;57(4):1018-23. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1984.57.4.1018.


The physiological effects on submaximal and maximal exercise of three methods commonly used by athletes for achieving rapid weight loss were determined by measuring cardiorespiratory variables in 62 nonendurance athletes. A mean weight loss of 4.1% was achieved by those who followed either a sauna (SAU), diuretic (DIU), or exercise (ACT) protocol, compared with the average weight loss of 1.2% in the control group. At maximal exercise O2 consumption, O2 pulse, blood lactate concentration, and work load decreased in SAU and DIU groups relative to the ACT group, whereas only a few differences were observed at the aerobic threshold. Weight loss achieved over a 48-h period was less detrimental to an athlete than was a more rapid (24-h) weight reduction achieved through sauna bathing or the use of diuretics. We conclude that not only the quantity of weight loss but also the method itself may limit physical performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Volume / drug effects
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Furosemide / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Lactates / blood
  • Lactic Acid
  • Male
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Physical Exertion* / drug effects
  • Physical Fitness
  • Respiration / drug effects
  • Sodium / blood
  • Sports*
  • Steam Bath*
  • Tidal Volume
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance / drug effects*


  • Lactates
  • Lactic Acid
  • Furosemide
  • Sodium
  • Oxygen