Can you take the heat? Knowing benefits, challenges to heated workouts

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Imagine your favorite tough workout; the kind that leaves you thirsty and drenched in sweat.

Now imagine that workout under heat lamps.

A lot of people are turning to heated workouts so, 10TV explored why and the steps to stay safe when participating.

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“I feel stretched out, I feel longer, I feel looser—I definitely feel like I have more energy even though I’m 10 times sweatier than I was when I walked in,” said Abby Jennings, one of many sweating it out to stay fit.

But 10TV learned there is more to the lamps than calorie burning alone.

“It is going to help stimulate that metabolism and help you burn a little bit more calories but that’s not the idea of it,” said Dr. Anna Vogel Schneider, a lead trainer at System of Strength. “It is going to be that recovery, that blood flow, the detoxification that we want to have as a goal.”

Dr. Vogel Schneider also works as a sports rehabilitation chiropractor at Columbus Spine and Sports Center, which she co-owns with her husband.

“You can’t just be hitting it hard all the time and that heat is going to help you too if you have hit it really hard in the past few days and you’re just really sore and maybe you’re not ready to move,” she said.

But Dr. Vogel Schneider also explained that some people should use more caution.

“Before clients are going to start in a heated class, we do suggest that they talk to a medical professional if they have any cardiovascular disorders, if they’re pregnant at the time, if they are taking any medications that might make them a little more sensitive to heat and then also if you just know personally, you are sensitive to heat, that would be something you would want to talk to a medical professional about,” she said.

For others, the trick to getting the most out of heated classes may come down to preparation.

“We always encourage clients to talk to the instructor if it’s their first time in a heated class,” Dr. Vogel Schneider said. “Before you’re going to come to the class you’re going to make sure you’re plenty hydrated throughout the day and you want to start that class with a nice, full water bottle.”

Once class starts, Vogel Schneider said it’s important that participants take things at their own pace.

“If you have never been in a heated class you may way to move slowly,” she said. “If you’re moving from your mat to standing, changing positions, even on the ground, you want to take it nice and slow so we don’t get any head rush or any feelings of discomfort because of the heat.”

And before picking a heated class, Vogel Schneider also explained it’s important to know what is out there.

For example, there are several different kinds of heat used.

“You have forced heat, which is going to be blowing that hot air into the air around you and then infrared heat,” she said.

Infrared heat, which is what is used in System of Strength classes, heats the body from the inside out.

The difference can determine how comfortable a class may be, she explained.

The kind of workout in a heated class can also make a big difference, Vogel Schneider said.

“Great classes in a heated environment are going to be your yoga class, where you can get into some of those deep stretches, some of those recovery positions,” she said. “You’re also going to want to look for a recovery-style class. So, a lot of studios are going to offer a foam rolling, mobility, deep stretch, a little bit different than a yoga route.”

With all that in mind, Jennings told 10TV that she takes her heated yoga class at least once a week.

“I feel my body just thanks me, right? So, I feel way more flexible, I feel like rejuvenated, my body is just… It’s like giving your body a big drink of water.”