Have you ever gone for a run or a bike ride in the sweltering heat of the summer? You probably find that your mood kind of goes down, and you’re absolutely drenched by the end of it all. There was a study done at the University of Nebraska at Omaha that tells us not only does the heat make working out harder in general, but it affects our muscles at a cellular level and has a pretty big effect on performance.
Basically, the study wants to find out how exercising in different climates affects the mitochondria in the muscles, and the mitochondria are the powerhouses of the muscles so it’s a pretty big deal! When mitochondria don’t work optimally, it can lead to diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and premature aging. Scientists are interested in finding the optimal temperature for working out to try and help these diseases from happening.
Results showed these scientists that when people work out in cooler temperatures, they’re very comfortable. Some reported a little cold when they first started out, but then warmed up after about 5 minutes of exercise. However, when participants exercised in the hot weather, it really affected their physiology and they were very negative about it all, similar to if they didn’t work out at all.
They think because of humid conditions, it causes the body to overheat and sweat doesn’t evaporate as quickly in humid weather as it does when it’s dry and cooler so you’re less motivated to work hard because you won’t cool down as quickly.
With all that being said, it shows that a single bout of exercise in the heat is not as effective as a single bout of exercise at room temperature. But don’t use this as an excuse to get rid of your outdoor workouts, there are a ton of benefits associated with them still! Think stress relief, calorie burn, and all around fun!