Do we burn more calories by working out in the heat?
With the high temperatures of summer, many of us choose to work out outdoors even if it seems easier to exercise with conditioned air. But in the reality, what is better? Is it more effective to do hot workouts? Here is everything you need to know.
Doing a long run under the heat of July can be very intense and difficult. Does it mean that we are burning more fat and calories? After this type of workout, you can sometimes feel lighter. Unfortunately, the extra weight that you have the feeling to have lost is likely to be water, not fat.
Indeed, hot workouts may help you to burn more calories because your body is using more energy due to the heat, but the difference with indoors workouts (conditioned air) will be negligible.
However, even if working out in the heat doesn’t really help you to burn more fat, we can recognize some benefits.
Working out with extreme temperature has a detox effect. The fact that you are sweating a lot helps your body to get rid of toxins (lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium). The more you sweat, the less you will have toxins in your body. Sweating can help you to stay healthier and live longer. But don’t forget that the more you sweat, the more you become dehydrated so don’t forget to drink a lot of water.
Another benefit of hot workout is the fact that you become more flexible. This is particularly useful for people that practice yoga. It allows you to sink deeper and it makes your muscles more pliable. However, try not to overdo it and respect your limits.
A study done at the University of Oregon suggested that exercising in the heat can increase performance. The experience was testing the ability of competitive bike riders to perform in a 55-degree room. One group trained before in a cold environment and the other group in the heat. In the end, when they were all tested in the 55-degree room, the group that trained in the heat was significantly more performant.
Finally, hot workouts may help you to build mental toughness and give you the ability to keep going.
If you really decide to work out in the heat, you have to take some precautions. Pay attention to your body and feelings. Be particularly careful if you feel the following symptoms: dizziness, confusion, cramps, nausea, and weakness. This means that is time to cool off.
The most important is to hydrate yourself a lot because the risk of dehydration is much higher in hot weather.