When it comes to exercise, we typically prefer the comfort of air-conditioned gyms or cool outdoor environments. However, the British summers are increasing in temperature every year and there are numerous advantages to embracing the heat while working out. Exercising in high temperatures can challenge your body in new ways, leading to improved performance, increased calorie burn, enhanced endurance, and even mental toughness. Keep reading to find out the benefits of exercising in the heat and how you can do so safely and effectively.
Increased Calorie Burn
When your body is exposed to higher temperatures, it needs to work harder to regulate its internal temperature. As a result, your heart rate increases, and your body burns more calories to cool itself down. This extra effort can lead to a higher metabolic rate during and after your workout, helping you burn additional calories and promote weight loss.
Improved Cardiovascular Fitness
Exercising in the heat causes your heart to work harder to pump blood and oxygen to your muscles and regulate body temperature. This increased demand strengthens your cardiovascular system, enhancing heart and lung function over time. Improved cardiovascular fitness leads to better endurance, stamina, and overall cardiovascular health.
Enhanced Endurance and Performance
Training in heat conditions forces your body to adapt by increasing sweat production, improving thermoregulation, and enhancing your body’s ability to cool down efficiently. As a result, your body becomes more efficient at managing heat stress, and your endurance capacity can improve. Over time, this can translate into better performance in various physical activities, whether you’re a runner, cyclist, or engage in team sports.
Mental Toughness and Adaptability
Enduring physical discomfort and pushing through challenging conditions can help you develop mental fortitude and adaptability. The ability to stay focused, maintain motivation, and overcome obstacles can extend beyond your workout and positively impact other areas of life. Training in the heat can enhance your mental toughness, preparing you for a wide range of physical and mental challenges.
Acclimatization and Heat Tolerance
Exercising in hot weather can help your body acclimate and become more tolerant to heat stress. Through regular exposure to high temperatures, your body learns to adapt and become more efficient at managing heat. This acclimatization process can result in a lower heart rate, reduced perceived exertion, and improved performance in hot conditions.
Vitamin D Boost
Exercising outdoors in the heat allows your body to soak up some sunlight, promoting vitamin D synthesis. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in maintaining bone health, supporting the immune system, and regulating mood. By combining exercise with sun exposure, you can maximize the benefits of both physical activity and vitamin D production.
Tips for Exercising in the Heat
While there are significant benefits to exercising in the heat, it’s essential to prioritize safety. Here are some helpful tips to keep you in top form while training in the heat.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout to prevent dehydration.
- Dress appropriately: Wear lightweight, breathable clothing that allows sweat evaporation and protects your skin from direct sunlight.
- Time your workouts: Schedule your workouts during cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening, to minimize exposure to peak heat.
- Protect yourself from the sun: Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and use sunglasses to shield yourself from harmful UV rays.
- Listen to your body: Pay attention to signs of heat-related illnesses, such as dizziness, nausea, or excessive fatigue. If you experience any symptoms, stop exercising and seek shade or air-conditioning immediately.
Embracing the heat and incorporating hot weather workouts into your fitness routine can bring numerous benefits. From increased calorie burn and improved cardiovascular fitness to enhanced endurance and mental toughness, exercising in the heat offers a unique set of advantages. By taking necessary precautions and listening to your body, you can safely reap the rewards of training in high temperatures. So, step out into the sun, challenge yourself, and enjoy the benefits of exercising in the heat.
Amanda Place is an award-winning personal trainer and founder of Sculptrition. Sign up for free weekly fitness tips via her website.