For those who are at all into fitness and health, they will most likely have heard of, and perhaps even taken part in a sweat-dripping class of hot yoga. And since it consists of an hour to ninety (yikes) minutes of dynamic movements and stretching in an unbearably hot room, it has to be good for the body, right? Luckily, science tells us that, yes, hot yoga does indeed have several health benefits. So those Sundays spent in a room full of sweating strangers has not been a waste of time and personal space. Phew!
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Obviously, the main ingredient for hot yoga is, you guessed it, heat. Getting the body to perform in temperatures as high as 40 degrees Celcius has been proven to provide a positive benefit on physical abilities as well as give practitioners a positive psychological effect.
The Globe and Mail reported on a study that was published by scientists at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University, and it was tested on the women's national field hockey team during their training for the 2018 Olympic Games. The challenge for athletes on this level, unlike us mere mortals, was to add heat to their routine without disrupting the rest of their training regimen. The study found measurable performance benefits.
Exposing the body to heat is going to trigger it in various ways all meant to help it to adapt to the hot and sweaty environment. This will, in turn, boost the body's endurance capacity in general, including during training in rooms with a normal temperature. What actually happens in is that the levels of blood plasma going through the veins increases, and athletes will be able to reap the benefits from this long after their sweaty session ends.
Walking on the stair master in an enclosed 40-degree room (as if cardio didn't already feel like a punishment sometimes) would most likely drain a fitness fanatic of all energy and leave them unable to perform in further physical activity. This is why hot yoga could be an excellent addition to a workout schedule. It provides the opportunity to perform dynamic movements and stretch out muscles under ideal circumstances, without messing with a weekly leg day or Zumba class.