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Sweat it out: Is hot exercise a smart idea?

When you have just started to exercise and you feel like you are already swimming in the puddle of you own sweat after the first 20 minutes of an aerobic class, it seems like a very far-fetch – or dare I say, crazy – idea to visit a hot class. Exercising in a room heated up to as much as 34-38 Celsius degree (93-100°F) may first time seem like you are about to serve time in Hell.

However, there are very compelling reasons why hot classes have gained immense popularity in the fitness industry during recent years. Exercising in this staged heated, humid environment has several benefits for those who brave enough to try.

No, it’s not just about sweating more

However, you will definitely do so. Evidently, because of the 34-38 degree environment sweating makes up a big part of the exercising and the overall experience. Because of this, most people visiting hot classes tend to feel like their workout is more effective when they are doing it in a hot room. It might not be true as the high temperature, combined with high humidity, make it difficult to perform to anywhere near your full potential.

On the other hand, the high temperature and your heated body will definitely burn more calories during the exercise. Practicing in this environment will elevate your heart rate and stimulate metabolism, therefore you are burning calories not just during the class, but hours after it has ended, outside the classroom as well.

Other benefits of hot exercise:

  • Flexibility – The heated environment and the properly warmed up muscles will allow everyone exercising to safely reach new levels of flexibility.

  • Detoxification – Heavy sweating will mobilises toxins from fat, and will thoroughly flush those toxins from the skin and from the system.

  • Endurance – Hot classes will help build up the stamina, develop stronger willpower, self-discipline, the ability to concentrate.

Precautions

Even though hot classes have their benefits, it is very important to remember: there are definitely some precautions you should take before classes in order to stay safe and to fully enjoy the benefits of exercising.

  • Check with a healthcare professional – If you have any serious injuries or health concerns – mainly if you have diabetes, any cardiovascular or respiratory disease, or heat-related illness – make sure to get your doctor’s approval before visiting a class. Because you might not get it.

  • Stay hydrated! - It is the most important thing – after getting an OK from your doctor – to remember when planning to visit a hot class. You have to drink plenty of water (preferably 2-3 liters) before your practice. Also important to hydrate after the class.

  • Eat accordingly - Avoid heavy foods in the hours before your class, but definitely eat light snacks before to properly fuel your body.

  • Listen to your body! – Just like your mother, your body also knows what’s best for you. Listening to it will help you never to overexert your system. Gradually let yourself experiment with your body’s limits, and let it adjusts to the atmosphere and workout.

  • Proper clothing – Always make sure to wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing.

So, is it safe?

The safety of hot exercise – as any other exercise – depends on your fitness level and overall health, among other factors. Make sure you take the recommended precautions and be brave enough try it out yourself. Listen to your body and you will very soon find out if hot classes are the right ones for you or you should keep looking.