Fitness, Women's Health

Hot Yoga. How Hot Is It?

Hot yoga is hot, at least in the popular sense. But it is also hot is the hazardous sense? The New York Times weighs in on the pros and cons of hot yoga, which is generally performed in room heated between 80 and 105 degrees, a discomfort zone that naturally provokes a couple of questions, such as: Wouldn’t exercise at that temperature speed dehydration? Could the heat make bodies seem more limber than they really are? ┬áThe answers, according to the Times, are maybe, in both cases. Casey Mace, an assistant professor of public health at Central Washington University, tells the Times that yes, hot yoga could lead to dehydration, and anyone who does hot yoga should be extra careful to stay hydrated. And Carol Ewing Garber, a professor of movement science and kinesiology at Teachers College, Columbia University and past president of American College of Sports Medicine, tells the Times that yes, hot yoga may make people more limber than they are, and could lead to over stretching. But, says Garber, there is no reliable research to support that concern. On the bright side, the Times reminds us that hot Bikram yoga has been shown, in one (and only one) study, to improve several things, including balance, lower body strength and range of motion for both the upper and lower body, and it might even help improve arterial stiffness and metabolic measures like glucose tolerance and cholesterol levels, as well as bone density and perceived stress. Yes, more research is needed.

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