Working Out in the Heat: Good or Bad for Your Body?
Thanks to the increasing interest in fitness trends like hot yoga, there is a great debate about whether working out in the heat is actually good for your body. While your body will work harder in the heat and therefore produce better results, it can also be dangerous if you aren’t careful about what you’re doing. Let’s look into this a little further.
First, it’s important to note that there is still a lot of unknown information about how heat affects the body. For example, no one knows why some marathoners are struck by heat illnesses and others aren’t, given similar conditions. Therefore, heat may or may not be a bad thing. For most people, it’s more about working out responsibly in any extreme condition, including sweltering summer temperatures.
Heat does cause the body to burn more fat because it has to work that much harder to perform and stay cool at the same time. However, fat also traps heat, so people who are heavier may struggle more with heat-related illness or overheating while working out in the summer sun. It can be risky for anyone to work out in the heat because no one really knows how each body will respond. However, it can be done safely, as well.
Accidents happen. There are always exceptions to the rule. However, as a general rule of thumb, as long as you are safe when you are working out in the heat, you shouldn’t have any issues. What does safe mean?
- Drink lots of water and always have water available.
- If you don’t feel right, stop and rest immediately.
- Choose sports drinks or electrolyte supplements to replace those lost nutrients.
- Start slow and pace yourself.
- Understand that your endurance and stamina will be lower and don’t push yourself too hard.
What about Professional Classes?
In the case of something like a hot yoga class, the trainer is experienced and knows how to safely execute the session. They do keep an eye for anyone suffering from discomfort or symptoms related to heat exposure, but there are rarely issues because of the expertise that goes into setting up the sessions. When we’re talking about working out in the heat, we’re generally discussing an outdoor setting or an unmonitored situation.
You can still get great results without the heat. Plus, if you join a gym, you can enjoy a comfortable workout all year round. Occasional sweltering workouts might be good, but it might be hard to keep up all summer long.