Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Turning up the heat for workouts

18 June 2012, 12:16

 New York - When it comes to exercise, some like it hot, some like it hotter, and some like it under the air conditioner.

Experts say heat can help your workout, boost circulation and increase flexibility, but it's a relationship that can also turn nasty.

"Your body is engineered to exercise in the heat," said Dr Michele Olson, professor of sport science at Auburn University at Montgomery, Alabama.

According to her it is the reason why we sweat.

Olson, who is also an expert with the American College of Sports Medicine, said it is actually the evaporation of sweat from the skin that cools our bodies to maintain our normal body temperature.

Heat also speeds up the heart rate, increasing the circulation of blood around the body, including the muscles, decreasing friction and making it more comfortable to stretch, she said.

"This is why we warm up before exercise," she explained.

But heat-related illnesses that strike during a sport or recreational activity send nearly 6,000 people in the U.S. to emergency rooms every year, according to a report released in 2011 by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sometimes the problem is really not the heat, but the humidity.

"If it is too humid, sweat cannot evaporate and this can prove to be dangerous, causing a health complications, such as dehydration, heat cramps or heat stroke,’’ Olson said.

Dr. Cedric X. Bryant, chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, said it's usually a combination of the two.

"With humidity the environment is not conducive to evaporation, so the body stores more heat, the core temperature goes up, and your physical performance is impacted negatively," he said.

When ambient temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) or more and the humidity is 60 per cent, he said exercise should be indoors.

At 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) and 30 per cent humidity you'd still be able to exercise safely, he said, depending of the intensity of the workout, which determines how much heat is produced.

"Generally speaking if temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.6 degrees Celsius) and humidity is below 50 per cent, that's going to be pretty comfortable," Bryant said.

Acclimatisation, the gradual adaptation to environmental changes such as heat, can also reduce risk of injury, according to Bryant.

The body usually takes 10 to 14 days of heat-exposed exercise to adapt.

To beat the heat, adequate hydration before, during and after exercise is a must, Bryant said.

He recommends drinking copious amounts of fluid 30 minutes before exercise, drinking at least six ounces every 20 minutes during exercise, and drinking beyond thirst after exercise.

"Water is generally best," he said. "But consider a sports drink if you're going to exercising for more than an hour."

During summer days, Bryant suggests working out in the morning, before the day heats up, and protecting skin and eyes with sunscreen and sunglasses.

When Kay Kay Clivio teaches her hot yoga class at Pure Yoga in New York City, she likes to keep the room between 95 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (35 to 37.7 degrees Celsius).

"Heat has a healing, therapeutic aspect," she said. "The hot room opens your muscles more and makes you more flexible."

Students in her hot class are encouraged to drink plenty of water and take breaks as needed.

"It's not usual to get nauseous in the first classes. Heat turns up a lot of toxins. Like steam cleaning a carpet, it really dredges stuff up. So the body reacts,’’ Clivio said.

"A lot of the benefit is that you're detoxifying."

For her non-hot yoga classes, Clivio likes to set the thermometer at 75 degrees Fahrenheit (23.8 degrees Celsius).

"If you have people in the room, the heat will come up," she explained. "I don't ever think the air conditioner should be on."

Besides flushing toxins and increasing flexibility, Clivio said heat can reduce stress and even sharpen the mind.

"It pushes you out of your comfort zone," she said.

Sadly, one thing exercising in heat cannot do is burn more calories.

"You do not burn more calories by sweating, per se," said Olson.

She said the energy cost of walking a 15-minute mile is the same, whether the temperature is balmy or sweltering.

"The idea that a hot room or area to work out and increase sweats results in increased calorie burning is a myth,’’ she said. "But sweating is a passive process."

Tags health

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...