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Hot vs. Not (What Research Says About Hot Yoga)

hot-yogarecent study by the American Council of Exercise asked whether hot yoga was a more challenging workout than normal yoga. The answer was a resounding no. On day one, study participants were led through a 60-minute yoga class. The next day, the same instructor led the same people through exactly the same class except that the room was 22 degrees hotter than the day before (71 vs 93 degrees).

When surveyed participants felt like they were working significantly harder in the hot yoga class compared to the normal yoga class. Turns out they weren’t. Participants swallowed a device that measured their core body temperature every 5 minutes and their heart rate was recorded every minute during the yoga classes. Hot yoga didn’t raise participant’s heart rate or core body temperature compared to the normal yoga class.

Heart rate is the major determent of how many calories you burn (gender, age, and weight are also important but fixed in this case).  Core body temperature can be thought of as a correlate of metabolism, as the body works harder its temperature rises, metabolism increases and more calories are burned. But that didn’t happen either. So hot yoga didn’t burn more calories and participants weren’t physically working any harder. But yes they felt like they were working harder and they were drenched in sweat.

Source: Read more about this study here.