Can you workout in the heat?

People take hot yoga classes all the time. Although there have been many classes at the gym where the room is heated, including hot yoga or stretch classes, heat actually can impede performance. Some hot yoga classes have rooms heated from 90 degrees to 117 degrees Fahrenheit.

What’s important to understand is external heat is different than internal heat. Flexibility feels better and muscles lengthen more when muscles are warmed up. Muscles have elastic to plastic component. When they are cold, they react more like plastic – no stretch and more likely to tear or become injured. When they are heated, they become more elastic and are able to lengthen. To get to this point, there is an increase in internal temperatures of the body.

Body temperature rises with increased movement. As we exercise our core temperatures increase. Our normal core body temperature is 97.7 degrees to 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit. During exercise your body temperature can easily reach above 104 according to Professor Len Kraits, PhD, at the University of Mexico.

But increased blood pressure and heart rate are happening with the body temperature increase. It’s important for the body to cool itself down that is why sweating occurs. Sweating is the built-in air conditioning system for the body and helps lower body temperatures during a workout. If you’re not sweating, you’re not cooling down.

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© 2015 by Andrea Metcalf