While the thought of balancing on your head or doing push-ups in a 100-plus degree room may make you want to give up before your workout has even begun, there are countless fitness pros eschewing air conditioners in favor of heaters, even when it’s hot, sticky and humid out. Bikram, Hot Power Yoga, Tracy Anderson, Figure 4 Fahrenheit…the list of heated studios continues to grow — and with the promise of accelerated body sculpting and mental strengthening, their appeal (despite the roasting) is hard to overlook. Plus, if there was ever a key to making New York City summers feel manageable, it would be surviving a workout in a sweltering room.
Before you get ready to wring your clothes out, however, note that working out in the heat is not for everyone. “Those who do not respond well to the heat, pregnant women and those suffering from high blood pressure or a heart condition should be very careful or avoid heated workouts altogether,” says Hot Power Yoga instructor and founder of Bassett’s Boot Camp Loren Bassett. It’s also imperative, especially when it’s hot outside, to hydrate and drink lots of water throughout the day. “Post-workout, coconut water is the best way to replace electrolytes you lose as a result of the heat,” Bassett advises.
Bassett outlines why you may want to consider cranking up the heat the next time you head to the gym.
Heat has a detoxifying effect on the body and mind. The discipline of holding a posture in a sustained intensity while sweating profusely promotes a deeper level of mental strength and concentration. It teaches you to find comfort in discomfort, exceed the limitations of the mind and overcome mental obstacles.
The heat adds a cardiovascular aspect because it increases the heart rate more than in a non-heated room, meaning you burn more calories than in a non-heated room while strengthening your heart health.
Heat warms the muscles quicker, so you can go deeper into various postures and stretches.
The mental concentration and strength you cultivate during a heated class is different than a non-heated class. Just staying in the room can be a challenge! It leaves you feeling a tremendous sense of accomplishment and confidence because it challenges you to push through the mental and physical resistance, transcend the discomfort and embrace a feeling of strength and serenity. As the body gets stronger and more flexible, the mind goes along for the ride.