Fitness Fact Or Fiction: Can Hot Yoga Help You Lose Weight?
We all know that Yoga is a great form of exercise – both for your physical and mental well-being. And in recent years Hot Yoga has become a popular alternative to traditional Yoga with many claiming the practice can help you lose weight?
But is it true? Can performing Yoga in a hot room really help you shed the pounds?
First let’s clarify what people mean when they say ‘weight loss’. What they’re referring to is ACTUAL fat loss, inferring that regular participation in hot Yoga class will facilitate fat burn. It sounds plausible right? I mean you’re exercising in a hot room and dripping with sweat. Surely you must burn a ton of calories ?
Sorry – it’s not true!
It always amazes me that people are under the impression that exercising in a higher temperature room somehow speeds fat loss. Guess what? That’s why you sweat! The sweat sits on your skin and when it evaporates it has a cooling effect. Sitting in a hot room does not change your body temperature – you’re still 98.6 degrees. Now just like a sauna you may have a higher blood pressure and feel a bit more pliable, but you’re not burning fat at a faster rate that those who take Yoga at a more normal room temperature. If exercising in the heat burned more calories, then people who run or exercise outside in summer months or in hot climates would be fat burning machines. But that’s not the case.
What MIGHT happen is that due to profuse sweating you may feel lighter and may actually weigh less after a hot Yoga session. BUT this is all water weight. There’s no chance that you burned 4 or 5 pounds of fat in an hour class. Does that even SOUND realistic to you? Of course not. The most popular form of hot Yoga is Bikram and proponents will say that the hot room helps you get deeper into your poses – quicker, which in turn helps build muscle faster. I say nonsense. Listen, I’m all for Yoga and it’s benefits, but please don’t call it a muscle building exercise or claim that the hot variety builds muscle or burns fat better that the traditional form. Yes it will help tone you and maintain existing muscle mass, but build muscle? Come on!
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t take hot Yoga. Although personally I don’t like it, just the same as I don’t like steam rooms or saunas. For me it’s uncomfortable. However I’ve met many people who absolutely love Bikram sessions and go weekly. The benefits are the same as traditional Yoga – increased clarity, sense of self, detoxification, improved flexibility, increased body awareness and emotional satisfaction. So if you want to take hot Yoga then great. But don’t be tricked into thinking that you’ll lose weight faster than other modes of exercise.
This one’s total FICTION!
For more on Yoga, check out these posts –
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