Some people love hot yoga. I hate it.
For those of you not familiar with this trend, hot yoga is a yoga class held in a room heated up to 105 degrees Farenheit. If you’re a logical person, you might be asking yourself why anyone would want to exercise in a humid, sticky, sweaty environment. If you’re not a logical person, you’re probably already signing yourself up for class.
I kid. But seriously, people swear by hot yoga because the heat enables your muscles to stretch deeper and they think it burns more calories because of all the sweating. And now, other non-yoga workouts are popping up with heated versions according to this article in the NY Times about working out in intense temperatures.
I’ve tried hot yoga a few times. I’ve also taken the Figure 4 class mentioned in the article – at room temp. This class is no joke; my muscles burned and shook, and I felt pushed to my absolute limit. While I absolutely loved the class, I can’t imagine doing that in a room over 100 degrees. I simply can’t imagine being able to push myself hard enough while being so distracted by the heat and sweat.
That is the very argument Dr. Casa makes in the article. If you can’t work as hard because the room is so hot, you’re defeating the entire purpose.
Additionally, the excessive sweating you do during a heated workout isn’t necessarily those calories melting away – it’s mostly just water. You also increase your risk of becoming dehydrated as your body loses so much water. You might feel lightheaded or nauseous. I did. Who wants to feel like crap when they work out? Exercise should feel great!
And while deeper stretching that hot yoga allows can certainly be beneficial, it can also be dangerous because you might stretch past your body’s limits, which could lead to a potentially serious joint injury.
If you truly love heated workouts, you are a more hardcore person than I am – and I commend you. If you’re curious and want to try it, I say go for it. Just listen to your body’s cues and don’t be too proud to rest in child’s pose as often as you need. But if you’re like me and don’t like it – don’t worry. We aren’t missing out.