Exercising alone can be sweaty work – but what happens when we turn it up a notch and increase the temperature?


We dug into science journals, so you didn’t have to – this is what science says about heat training and its potential health benefits. The basic notion of hot workouts is that it ramps up the demands of your workout – triggering bodily adaptations that boost endurance and performance. We dive more into this idea and provide tips on safely working out in the heat. Lastly, we offer you options within Auckland to experience heated movements for yourself (because, let’s face it, it’s getting colder outside). 

Before starting any new exercise regime, consult your local GP or doctor and follow their advice. 

  • Increases Hemoglobin

Hemoglobin (Hb) is a protein inside your red blood cells (RBCs) that carries oxygen and delivers it to tissues and organs while transporting carbon dioxide away into the lungs. Our body’s oxygen demand increases when we exercise, so RBCs must provide more oxygen to meet these demands. Once we have saturated how quickly Hb can deliver oxygen, this is our peak performance. However, if you can increase your Hb number – this is a gateway to improving performance.

2020 study by The Physiological Society found that cyclists who biked in a room heated to 37.8 degrees celsius boosted Hb levels by 4-5%. For athletes, this could improve their endurance and overall performance. 

  • Increase Plasma Volume

Plasma is the liquid portion of your blood (the rest being red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets). Research published by the Journal of Applied Physiology indicated heat training could increase plasma volume by 6.5% – in turn, this suggests improving cardiac output (the rate your heart pumps blood out), stroke volume (amount of blood your heart can pump out with each beat) and VO2 (max rate of oxygen you can breathe in). All three of these factors lead to improved performance and endurance. Think of it this way: if your heart can pump out more blood at the same level of effort, your muscles get more oxygen at any given rate, so your max performance increases. It also helps regulate your core body temperature and increase sweat rates because your skin has higher blood flow.

  • Increases Calorie Burn

Heat training can also help you burn more calories. When exposed to high temperatures, your body works harder to maintain its core temperature. This increased effort results in a higher metabolic rate and increased calorie burn. It’s important to remember this calorie burn is minimal and won’t lead to significant weight loss on its own. Choosing an exercise and environment you genuinely enjoy will lead to better long-term results. 

  • Increases Flexibility

‘Cold’ muscles and ligaments tend to be stiff and locked into position. This is why we tend to do warm-up exercises – to help loosen them up and create mobility. As heat increases blood flow, we can reduce stiffness and relax muscles. A systemic review published by Physical Therapy in Sport revealed direct heat application to muscles could increase the range of movement (ROM) in stretching. 

Hot yoga is built on these principles and uses a heated room (38 degrees celsius) to warm and relax muscles, allowing you to stretch to new limits. For Aucklanders wanting to give this a go, here are our top picks:

  • Sweat Yoga is a Newmarket-based Hot Yoga and Hot HIIT Pilates studio. Combining community, sweat-inducing strength, and meditative mindfulness for all levels – Bruce Simons and his passionate team create a welcoming space that isn’t afraid to push each person to their physical and mental edge. 
  • Studio Red‘s signature hot yoga class, Red Fusion, seamlessly knits yoga styles together, resulting in a powerful full-body experience. Classes cater to all levels and offer a slower pace with modifications provided. Each week follows its own unique theme or intention, courtesy of the teacher. 
  • Increases Production of Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs)

HSPs are a group of proteins your body produces in response to stress, including heat stress. These proteins protect your cells and DNA from damage and promote cellular repairResearch published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that exercising in the heat can increase the production of HSPs. HSPs can also aid in muscle growth and regeneration – helping grow and adapt with more muscle and repair quicker.

Tips for safely exercising in the heat

While there are numerous benefits to hot weather workouts, taking precautions is essential to ensure you exercise safely in the heat. Here are some tips to help you stay safe and get the most out of heat training:

  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout to replace the fluids lost through sweat.
  • Wear appropriate clothing: Choose lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking fabrics to help keep you cool and dry.
  • Gradually acclimate to the heat: Give your body time to adjust to the higher temperatures by gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your workouts.
  • Listen to your body: Pay attention to how you feel during your workout and adjust your pace or take breaks as needed.

Key Takeaways:

Exercising in heat can improve endurance, increase calorie burn, enhance flexibility, and promote the production of heat shock proteins. Remember to stay hydrated, wear appropriate clothing, acclimate gradually, and listen to your body when exercising in the heat.


If you want to learn more about moving and nourishing your body in tailored approach according to your age, our free Eat Your Age white paper is available to download here! It’s packed with expert insights and research-backed information on eating and living well for each decade of life so you can thrive in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 6os and beyond!

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