The Bright Side Blog

Hot? Maybe Not

Hot? Maybe Not

Who doesn’t want to get the most out of a workout? That’s one reason we try new and different routines. One popular take is working out in the heat, but do heat workouts get you in shape faster?

Whether you exercise in a warm room or under the summer sun, a heat workout will get your heart beating faster and may equal quicker calorie burn. But is it good for your body?

Working Out in the Heat

Even if you haven’t attended a hot yoga class or visited a heated cycle studio, you probably know someone who has. The idea that exercising in the heat gives you a better workout is intriguing, and it certainly makes intuitive sense. The thought of heat intensifying a workout, turning up the heart rate has appeal.

But this can cut both ways. While heat workouts are likely to improve your cardio benefits, they aren't for everybody. Kids, pregnant women, and those with medical concerns such as heart issues, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries should consult their primary care doctor first. Heat workouts can be stressful on the body, causing heatstroke, heat exhaustion, or even heat-related collapse.

Sweat and the Heat Workout

The hotter you are, the more you sweat. That’s gotta be good, right? You’ll definitely feel you worked harder after sweating under the hot sun during an afternoon summer run or working out in a heated exercise room. But it may not be as productive as it seems because of the competing demands for blood flow in hot weather that limit how long and how hard you exercise.

And the theory that sweating removes the toxins from your body is a myth. Sweat contains elements the body needs such as sodium, calcium, potassium, and plenty of H2O. Toxins are stored in your kidneys and liver. A long workout at 100 degrees Fahrenheit will probably dehydrate you and may cause other medical issues such as fatigue, weakness, nausea, cramps, dizziness, and problems breathing.

Summer Workouts and Calorie Count

Generally, your heart rate during exercise is linked to the number of calories burned. However, heat raises your heart rate as your body tries to cool itself down, so a heat workout may mean the heart rate may no longer correlate to the benefits of the exercise. You may be exercising at a lower intensity than you normally do.

If you want to learn more about why your heart rate matters, we’ve asked Melanie, MYX Fitness Programming Specialist,  to explain its importance!

So how does it all balance out? While engaging in hot exercise is an individual decision, it may not be right for you. The touted benefits seem overrated, and the potential issues are real. If you’re in good shape and can’t live without it, remember to keep yourself well hydrated to limit the risks.

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