Advantages of Hot Weather Workouts

June 20, 2023 0 Comments

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For many, the hot weather leads to a transition from stomping on the sidewalk outside to jumping on a treadmill indoors with AC radiation. But sometimes there are serious benefits to sweating outdoors – if you train safely in the heat.

“There are several aspects to working out in hot environments that potentially make it more difficult and at the same time more beneficial for improving body fitness,” confirms Alex Rothstein, certified personal trainer and instructor for the exercise science program at the New York Institute of Technology.

Heat training — or training in hotter than average conditions – can be exhausting at first, as your body has to work harder and get tired faster. But over time, warm-weather workouts could help improve your cardiovascular fitness, health and sports performance in hot and cold environments.

Ready to break a sweat? Read on to find out how you can safely start working out in the heat, as well as three ways to reap the benefits of warm-weather workouts thanks to the expertise of exercise physiologists and fitness professionals.

HOW TO START HEAT TRAINING SAFELY

If you are new to exercising in hot weather, it is important to slowly increase the heat and intensity to give your body time to “acclimatize” (i.e. bodily adapt to a new environment) while reducing risks such as overtraining and heat exhaustion, explains Jack McNamara, certified personal trainer

Instead of diving straight in with intense workouts at the highest heat, start with shorter, high-intensity morning and evening workouts when it gets a little cooler and make sure to take plenty of breaks. Then gradually add lower intensity workouts at higher temperatures, he says. To brave the heat, be sure to hydrate and refuel before, during and after your workout. wear light, loose-fitting clothes and sunscreen; and watch for warning signs of dehydration such as muscle cramps, weakness or dizziness, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“It can take up to two weeks for your body to completely get used to the heat, so take it slow and make smart decisions about when to go outside,” says McNamara.

Benefits of warm-weather workouts

1. YOU INCREASE YOUR ENDURANCE

Anecdote: When you sweat, the sweat on the surface of the skin that prevents you from overheating comes from Plasma, the liquid substance in your blood that helps transport red blood cells. Repeated exercise in the heat forces your body to adapt to cool you down more efficiently by increasing your fluid reserves from which you can draw (in scientific language: you increase your blood plasma volume.), explains Todd Buckingham, PhD, exercise physiologist and world champion triathlete. As a result, your body retains the fluid it needs to oxygenate your muscles and difficult workouts are lighter.

How to reap the benefits: do a HIIT beach workout

“High-intensity, equipment-free interval training on the beach is a quick and effective way to get your heart rate up and sweat well, but also give yourself enough time to recover,” says Tami Smith, a Florida-based personal trainer. Don’t forget to book HIIT workouts like this for the morning and evening to avoid trying too hard.

2. THEY STRENGTHEN YOUR HEART

Working out in the heat not only improves your body’s cooling system, explains Sergio Pedemonte, certified personal trainer and owner of Your House Fitness. It also allows your heart to pump more blood with each beat and lowers your resting heart rate through increased fluid levels and better cardiovascular fitness.

How to enjoy the benefits: play a pickup game with friends.

Because heat training challenges your heart, it has the most beneficial effect on cardiovascular exercises like walking or running, rather than strength-building workouts like weight lifting (which are best done in a cooler environment), Pedemonte says. A good starting point is team sports such as soccer, football, ultimate Frisbee or beach volleyball. They’re fun and engaging, but they also offer several ways to take breaks to rehydrate when you’re getting in shape, he says.

3. YOU BURN MORE CALORIES

Because your body has to work harder to beat the heat, hot-weather workouts also burn more calories than the same cooler-weather workout, Buckingham says. However, in warmer conditions, you will also get tired faster, so you can opt for a shorter workout and, in turn, burn fewer calories. With this in mind, it is best to choose an activity that you really like (despite the extra challenge) so that you can hold it during your usual training time.

Here’s how to take advantage of it: take a panoramic bike ride.

An outstanding workout for beginners in hot weather is a bike ride, because it is difficult and makes your heart race, but also allows you to control the intensity levels, Rothstein says. Another Plus? It’s also a great holiday workout, because you can plan a trip to do some sightseeing and take a dip in the ocean or pool to cool off, he says. If you usually head to the mountains in cooler weather, start with a flatter route or plan a shorter route to familiarize yourself with cycling in hot weather.

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