Have you ever told yourself that it’s too hot to work out outdoors? You might have been missing out on some of the benefits of working out in the heat.
You may not be thrilled at the idea of sweating profusely, suffering a sunburn, or having to cut your workout short because of how overwhelmingly hot it is, but I would like to tell you about some of the reasons why working out in the heat could be worth it sometimes.
Does Working Out In The Heat Burn More Calories
You bet it does. When your body sweats, it creates a thermal reaction that burns through fat. It’s literally burning fat cells off of you. You’re also losing water and salt, purging your body of electrolytes, but you’re burning fat as well.
Working out in hot, humid conditions can cause you to burn some extra calories. The extra burn might not be substantial, but it’s enough to give you a little edge.
If you find that working out in the hot sunshine is too much for you, it’s okay to find a cooler place to exercise. The difference in calorie burn is not significant, but if you’re looking to give your workout a little boost and burn some extra weight, working out in the heat is worth a try.
Do you burn more calories working out in the heat or in air conditioning? You’ll definitely burn more calories in a hot environment, but how much you burn depends on a few different factors, particularly your size and weight, overall health, and the intensity of the exercises you’re doing.
If you’re walking at a leisurely pace in the heat and comparing that to running on a treadmill in the air conditioning, you’re going to burn more calories with a higher intensity exercise. I think that’s something to keep in mind when you’re comparing calorie burn in the heat to a cooler environment.
Does Working Out In The Heat Build Stamina
When you’re working out in the heat, you’re going to be sweating a lot. You’ll likely be uncomfortable, sticky, prickly, itchy, and not feeling your best. But, the amazing thing about working out in the heat often is that it builds up your ability to withstand being uncomfortable.
Does working out in the heat build stamina? In some ways, you could say. It helps you to be able to stay uncomfortable for longer without it bothering you as much. Your threshold for what’s uncomfortable for you and when you need to stop what you’re doing and move to a more pleasant environment will increase. You’ll be able to take more punishment, so, in some ways, you will be boosting your stamina.
If you find that you can’t handle your workouts for very long, try doing a workout in the heat where you don’t have much choice but to finish the workout completely. That could mean running a few circuits or moving from one point to another. This way, you can’t quit your workout until you reach the goal.
You will increase your cardiovascular capacity as well.
Working out in the heat boosts your VO2 Max levels and your lactate threshold. It also increases your ability to do intense exercises for longer.
If you’re looking to improve your personal performance records and achieve more than you’ve done before, working out the heat maybe the way to do it. A good option for people who have plateaued in their progress and want to try something different to move forward in their fitness development.
What Are The Benefits Of Working Out In The Heat
If you’ve seen your muscle development slow down a bit recently, heat can help. What is the benefit of working out in heat versus room temperature? You can see improvements at a quicker pace, which is why a lot of people will do heat workouts every so often.
This may not be something you want to do all the time, but occasionally working out in the heat can have some big benefits.
You may notice that your muscles develop faster and that you lose more weight after working out in the heat intermittently.
You might want to try exercising outdoors in the heat once a week or a few times a month and see what kind of results you get.
What Are The Dangers of Exercising in the Heat
As many benefits as there are to exercising outside in the heat, there also some risks as well as disadvantages. Let’s talk about some of those, so you know what to look out for and what to expect.
The first danger to know about is dehydration.
If you’re exercising outside when it’s hot, you’re likely to lose a lot of water. You’re not just losing water, though, you’re also losing salt, which contains electrolytes.
That provides a lot of energy for your body, so you can find yourself on the verge of collapse if you’re not getting enough water and electrolytes in your system.
I recommend carrying a water bottle with you if you’re going to be exercising outside. If it’s really hot, you may want to try Gatorade or some other electrolyte-heavy beverage. You can also use a salty snack like peanuts to provide electrolytes for yourself.
You may notice that you’re not losing weight working out in the heat. What could be happening is that you mostly lose water weight by sweating and then you gain that back as you drink too much water to rehydrate.
Be careful about how much water you’ll be hydrating with, if you’re looking to watch your weight. You can be adding a lot of water weight on that will go away on its own after a while, but it may tip the scale heavier than you’d like initially.
Also be careful of pushing yourself too hard. If you’re exercising outside, you might not be able to find a cool place to rest for refill your water levels or electrolytes at any time you want. You have to be careful about how hard you’re pushing yourself and how much you’re draining your body without recharging.
Another thing to watch for is sunburn. Intense heat can be damaging to your skin. Be sure to wear some sort of sunblock to protect yourself, especially if you’re going to be out in the sunlight for very long. There are long term health consequences to not protecting your skin from harsh sunlight, including skin cancer.
If you’re interested in working out outdoors in the sun to enjoy some of the health benefits it offers, you want to gradually increase the heat. You can’t control the sun, but you can determine how long you spend outside.
Start with a short workout session and increase it from there as you feel comfortable. Don’t start off with an hour in the sun doing intense exercises. You will probably end up overtired, achy, dehydrated, and burnt. Take it easy at first so that you can continue to work out outside and do indoor exercises as well without over tiring or damaging yourself.
My name is Ellis Francis and I have been a personal fitness trainer, sports nutritionalist and health and fitness advisor for over 25 years. I am the lead health and fitness advisor at https://ahumanbody.com.