You must surely have heard conflicting views about the best ways to workout. You might have been caught in the middle of a heated debate between those who swear by the merits of working out in the heat, and those who feel that it is just not worth the effort. The truth of the matter shall be exposed shortly in a one on one between exercising in normal temperatures versus exercising in heat. Who knows, by the end of this face-off you might just find yourself convinced enough to start working out in heat. After all, what’s a little extra sweat in the face of improved stamina, enhanced athletic performance and enviable fat burning, body sculpting abilities?
We all know that working out if the temperature is a little higher than normal results in profuse sweating and a great deal of huffing and puffing. So if you feel like exercising in heat helps you burn more calories, you’re right on track! Your body has to work harder to cool off when you are working out in heat. Sweating is your body’s natural cool-off mechanism. The body gets rid of internally generated heat by pumping blood to the skin, from where sweat is released. Working out in heat forces your body to pump more blood to the skin, this in turn makes your heart work harder and leads to greater calorie and fat burning.
Athletes can benefit greatly by exercising in heat. According to the Journal of Applied Physiology published by the University of Oregon, athletes who train in higher temperatures are able to perform better because certain bodily functions are enhanced; the body is able to control its internal temperature more efficiently, the function of sweating is improved, blood flow is increased to the skin, muscles and organs.
Apart from the the benefits of working out in heat, there are a few dangers that need to be kept in mind as well. High temperature can lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, dizziness, nausea, cramps and sudden fatigue and in severe cases, a heat stroke.
The jury is out: working out in heat is definitely more beneficial than working out in normal temperatures. However, athletes who choose to work out in high temperatures must take very good care of their fluid intake, should wear workout apparel made from breathable fabrics, and should always look out for signs of heat exhaustion, dehydration or stroke.