With temperatures rising to 32 degrees, the summer heat wave appears to have arrived and it’s been a glorious couple of weeks in England. The smell of cut grass is in the air (perhaps not the best thing for our hay fever sufferers) and people are taking to the sunny outdoors, topping up their tans and eating large amounts of ice cream.
As the heat continues to penetrate through our cities, a thought on some people’s minds is whether being outdoors in this weather will help them shed some weight. One of the first questions they ask is…
Even if you sweat bucket loads, it won’t have any lasting impact on your weight levels and here’s the main reason why: sweating only causes you to lose water weight and this will be gained back the moment you drink some fluids. Against whatever theory you may have heard, your fat metabolism is not directly impacted through sweating. You may have walked around London for the whole afternoon and felt a tad lighter through all that excess sweating but fluid displacement via sweating will not have helped to burn any calories.
Let’s start with the basics. In short, you burn a mix of carbs and fat while exercising. When exercise becomes more intensive, that mix shifts away from fat and more towards carbs. During demanding workouts, the body starts to warm up and gets a little dehydrated from losing too many fluids through sweating. When you add in the sweat from simply being exposed to hotter climates, it’s easy to see why dehydration becomes a real possibility. Symptoms of dehydration during exercise include but are not limited to:
There is an epidemic of guys wearing extra layers of clothes at the gym, who believe that excess sweating during workouts will help them burn more calories. It’s usually these guys who choose extreme sweating in the heat as one of their goals in a summer workout. Not only is this counterproductive, but it carries dangers too, such as severe dehydration which can harm kidneys or even lead to death. Therefore, it’s far better to play it safe and train in low heat levels, especially if you’re over 60 with high blood pressure.
Like squirrels, some people pile on weight during the winter and lose it come spring. But what’s one of the first things most people have in mind when it’s a sunny weekend? That’s right - they take to the outdoors and spend most of the afternoon taking part in increased activity i.e. walking across town in shopping centres or playing high-energy sports.
Enjoy the leisurely walks in the warm weather (while it lasts) but don’t be under the illusion that you can manipulate the scales by staying out in hot temperatures all day. There goes another myth out of the window.
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