Heat training, a practice that harnesses the power of heat to elevate exercise performance and improve overall health, has been gaining popularity among fitness enthusiasts.
While many may seek the comfort of air-conditioned gyms when temperatures soar, it offers a unique opportunity to push the boundaries of physical endurance and reap remarkable benefits.
By embracing the heat safely and effectively, individuals can unlock their body’s hidden potential and achieve new heights in their fitness journey.
What is heat training?
Heat training is the use of heat to improve exercise performance and general health.
The notion is that exercising in a hot climate or heated environment may increase the demands of workout and cause the body to undergo a sequence of adaptations that improve endurance.
If the weather isn’t extremely warm, there are a few techniques to add heat to an exercise session. These include using a sauna, working out in warm water, wearing numerous layers of clothes or using an athletic chamber, a space where you can control the temperature and humidity.
However, academics have contested the benefits of heat training, especially for non-elite athletes.
Benefits of heat training
Heat training has been demonstrated in various studies to improve aerobic exercise performance, which includes activities like running, cycling, rowing and more.
According to researchers, heat causes a sequence of physiological adjustments that can improve performance.
Boosts hemoglobin: For elite athletes, one of the most notable benefits of heat training is an increased production of hemoglobin — the key protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to major organs and tissues.
That has a direct effect on overall endurance. A study discovered that training five hours per week for five weeks in 100-degree heat increased hemoglobin levels in men professional cyclists by 4-5%, increasing overall oxygen consumption.
Increases plasma volume: After just a few days of training, you could experience a boost of almost 20% of plasma volume in your veins.
Increased plasma volume can make athletes better at thermoregulation, the body’s ability to maintain a certain body temperature. That allows for better cooling during exercise and potentially longer endurance.
Can you train your body to adapt to heat?
The body may be trained to adapt to heat, a process called heat acclimatization. It usually takes around 10-15 days to adjust to heat.
During this time, it’s critical to take it slow, stick to a plan and be mindful of the time of day you choose to exercise in hot weather.
What are the side effects of training in the heat?
Heat training does have risks. Exercising in a hot environment can occasionally result in heat-related sickness. Among the potential concerns are:
Body’s inability to cool itself off: Sweat does not evaporate as rapidly under hot and humid settings, making it difficult for the body to cool itself.
A person’s ability to cool off in intense heat can be affected by factors like age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, prescription drug use and alcohol consumption.
Heat-related disorders: Heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, sunburn and heat rash are common heat-related disorders. These might range from moderate to severe and, in certain situations, necessitate rapid medical intervention.
Training in the heat is a powerful method to boost exercise performance and endurance.
Elite athletes can reap significant benefits, like increased hemoglobin and plasma volume. However, recreational athletes should proceed with caution, consulting a healthcare provider and taking necessary precautions.
Adequate preparation, timing, hydration and proper clothing are essential for safe and effective training in heat experience. Always listen to your body, and seek medical attention if any heat-related symptoms arise.