Working Out In The Heat May Not Get You The Results You Want, New Research Shows
I've used plenty of excuses to skip a workout: I've had a long day at work; I'm too sore from yesterday's HIIT circuit; I have a Grey's Anatomy marathon I need to catch. And with summertime in full swing, you better believe I've been ducking out of some of my workouts because of the sweltering heat. Seriously, sometimes it's like my sweat is sweating. (Is that a thing?)
I know it seems like a ridiculous excuse, but my body just feels too sluggish at times to make it through a productive sweat sesh when it's humid AF outside.
But good ol' science is here to back me up. Research from the University of Nebraska at Omaha suggests exercising in the summer heat may minimize the results you want from your workout.
In their study, the researchers examined exercise's effect on the participants' mitochondria (which are responsible for creating most of the energy you need) in order to see how high temperatures outside are related to your fitness results.
Basically, the mitochondria in your body hardly undergo any changes when you work out in high temperatures.
The researchers discovered these findings after looking at tissue samples taken from 36 participants both before and after they exercised in hot and cold environments.
According to Dustin Silvka, study author and exercise physiology laboratory director at the University of Nebraska, these results basically show "the response [in heat is] about the same as if no exercise had occurred."
Well damn, what's the point then?!
But don't go cancelling all your summer workout plans just yet.
First of all, as the researchers noted to Huffington Post, their findings were only based on a single workout, and future efforts aim to observe how people's muscles respond after a few weeks of training in those humid temperatures.
Plus, just because working out in the summer heat may not necessarily yield the results you want, it doesn't mean you should ditch all your fitness goals until the cold weather returns.
Other studies have suggested working out in cooler environments can promise a multitude of benefits and enhance your overall progress -- meaning you're probably better off sweating it out inside with an arctic AC blast hitting you anyway.
Of course, the options for indoor workouts are practically endless -- you can go to a local gym, yoga studio, look for a SoulCycle class near you, or just lay out a mat in your living room and crush an ab circuit or two.
Bottom line: When it feels like the Sahara outside, take it as your cue to spice things up and try something new in your fitness routine, like a class you've always thought about looking into, but never have.