Summertime is HOT and it's HUMID ! But that doesn't mean that you can't take your workout outside. There are actually some benefits that can help your body adapt to the extra heat and help your body perform BETTER ! Training in the heat may be more beneficial for fitness than doing equivalent training in cooler weather and the facts are very interesting. So before you think that you want to keep it in the cooler environment, keep reading to maybe ope up that opportunity for a better workout and extra benefits !
Heat acclimation improves the body’s ability to control body temperature, improves sweating and increases blood flow through the skin, and expands blood volume allowing the heart to pump more blood to muscles, organs and the skin as needed. Your body has an incredible way to regulate heat, humidity, and hydration which all play a role in physical performance.
Here are 6 reasons why you should exercise in the heat !
1. It can increase your physical capacity. There have been studies that show that training in hot weather increases your fitness level. Your body learns how to work out at a more intense level, so when you are in “normal” conditions, it feels easier.
2. It can help make your body more efficient and efficiency is what makes you faster. Exercising in the heat helps make your body more efficient, which is always a bonus. Basically, the hot weather requires the body to increase its blood flow. Since it expands its volume, it can pump more blood out to vital organ which helps make your hearts more efficient.
3. It helps you build your mental fitness. Exercising in the heat is really challenging but one it can increase your mental toughness. If you can make it through a tough workout when it’s really hot you know that you can make it when the temperatures are cooler!
4. Heat helps you vary your workouts. Think about doing a circuit training with water breaks in between. Whatever it is, heat will help you get creative so you can still get your workout on without getting sick.
5. You learn how to sweat better. The point of sweating is to regulate your body temperature better. The better you sweat, the cooler you are. So definitely this is an added bonus that your body becomes more efficient at handling hot weather after training in it. The more you sweat your body then needs to work harder thus it increases the calorie burn past the workout!
6. A really good excuse to eat more carbs. Due to your body working HARDER to regulate your temperature, you NEED more fuel and by this I mean carbs ! You need to make sure you are eating enough daily to compensate for the extra hard workouts!
But I do give some words of caution when exercising in the heat!
Try not to exercise in temperatures above 90 degrees unless you are already in good shape. Aerobic fitness enhances heat-training capacity just as heat training enhances aerobic fitness. No matter how fit you are, it's very important that you give yourself a chance to gently acclimatize to training in hot weather before you attempt any kind of challenging workout in the heat. You can do this both by doing shorter, slower workouts in very high temperatures (90 to 100 degrees) and by doing normal workouts in progressively warmer temperatures (75, then 80, then 85, etc). Avoid training in temperatures much higher than 100 degrees.
So before just heading into AC, try to incorporate heat workouts at least 1 or 2 times a week ! You can increase your metabolic rate and enhance performance all at the same time !