Does Working Out in the Heat Burn More Calories
Does Working Out in the Heat Burn More Calories

Does Working Out in the Heat Burn More Calories?

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It seems like there are tons of options for hot workouts nowadays. Hot yoga. Hot Pilates. Warm Spin studios.

In every direction you turn, there’s a fitness studio finding new ways to turn up the temperature and turn you into a sweaty, disgusting mess. 

But are these exercises worth doing? Do they really help you in your course of losing weight?

In this article, we seek to answer one of the most frequently asked questions: Does working out in the heat burn more calories?

The Truth about Exercising in Heat

As anyone who’s gone for a long run during summer knows, adding heat to a workout can make it feel so much more intense.

Suddenly, what seemed so easy for your body in the cool climate becomes an impossible task. 


Well, because your body is working harder to cool itself and burning more calories in the process.

When the temperatures are high, your body is forced to work harder to maintain a steady body temperature.

During this time, you lose most of the energy manufactured by your muscles in the form of heat. The harder you work your muscles, the more they heat up.

To counter this effect, your body kicks in to keep it cool.

The cooling process happens when your heart sends more blood to circulate through your skin; thus, allowing you to sweat.

As the heart pumps faster to send blood to the skin surface, there’s an increase in calorie and fat burn.

This can be backed by the study, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. Performed in 2002, the aim of this research was to determine the impact of temperature on nine men who cycled for one and half hours at different ambient temperatures.

At the end of the experiment, it was found that those who exercised at cooler temperatures burned less fat.


Now, although working out in the heat burn more calories, individuals need to take precautions. Consider these two factors:

1. If you want to lose weight, the best environment to work out in is moderate to warm temperatures rather than in extreme heat. 

Reason being?

It is much easier to sustain a workout under moderate to warm temperatures. Sure, you might be sweating buckets and feel like you’re working ten times harder when it’s very hot. 

But this is primarily because your body is working extra hard to send blood to the skin and help you sweat.

By exercising in moderate temperatures, you help your body engage in that fat-burning workout for longer.

2. Working out in extreme heat poses several risks. Under normal circumstances, your skin, blood vessels and perspiration system all work together to adjust to the surrounding temperatures.

But once you expose your body to high temperatures and humidity for too long, you risk getting a heat-related illness.

These conditions occur along a spectrum; that is, they start out mild and then worsen when they remain untreated. Examples of heat-related conditions include:

  • Heat cramps –also known as muscle cramps, these are painful and involuntary contractions in the muscles that occur when you exercise in a hot environment. Symptoms include sweating, fast pulse, faint feeling, and muscle cramping.
  • Heat syncope – this is a feeling of light hardheadedness that’s brought about by high temperatures. Often, this occurs to people who stand for a prolonged period of time in a hot environment.
  • Heat exhaustion – it’s characterized by an increase in body temperature up to 40 degrees Celsius. You’re likely to experience nausea, weakness, headache, fainting, sweating, and colds. If not treated in time, it can develop into heatstroke.
  • Heatstroke – at this point, your body temperature is higher than the 40 degrees Celsius. This is a life-threatening condition that should be treated immediately.

How to Work Out Safely in the Heat

How to Work Out Safely in the Heat

These conditions are likely to crop up if you exercise in the heat without caution. But this does not necessarily mean that you shouldn’t exercise outdoors during summer.

If you want to shed some pounds by running or hiking in the summer heat, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Drink Up

As mentioned earlier, working out in heat causes a rise in your body temperature. Sure, your body has an in-built mechanism for cooling.

However, this natural cooling system fails when you’re over-exposed to soaring temperatures.

And, if there’s a high level of humidity as well, then you are in greater danger because you won’t be able to sweat effectively.

You can prevent this by drinking sufficient amounts of water. When you're exercising in extreme heat you will also need to replace electrolytes.  That part is very critical.

At least 60% of the human adult body consists of water. 

You need to maintain this amount even when you’re working out in the heat. When exercising, take at least 8 ounces of water every 30 minutes.

Check the Temperature

If you like working out in the heat, then you should pay more attention to weather forecasts and heat alerts.

Essentially, you should know what temperature to expect before heading outdoors.

Dress Appropriately

When working out in the heat, one of the things you need not ignore is how you dress.

More specifically, you should go for loose and lightweight clothing, which makes it easier for sweat to evaporate; thus keep you cool. You can shop for the good quality apparel at Reebok here.

Ease Up

If you’re accustomed to working out in a cool environment, then you’ll need to take things easy at first. If you’ve been running for five miles in a cool environment, do not expect to run the same distance in a hot setting.

Start with a smaller distance and then work your way up as you adapt to the new surroundings.

Wrap Up

Working out in the heat does help you to burn more calories. In fact, this is not the only perk of exercising in a hot environment.

As you sweat, you rid the body of toxins. But, even though hot temperatures help you lose more fat, they also pose considerable risks such as dehydration and heat stroke.

If you plan to work out in the heat, it’s important that you hydrate, wear light clothing, keep tabs on temperature changes and take things slowly.

If you experience symptoms such as fatigue, faint feeling or nausea, you should stop working out and seek medical attention.