Why would someone put themselves in a hot room and move around for up to 90 minutes? It sounds crazy – but hot yoga aficionados know there are many benefits, including:
- Muscle Toning
- Stress Reduction and Increased Vitality
- Weight Loss
- Reduce Muscle and Joint Pain
- Flexibility and Mobility
Hot yoga helps you sweat out toxins while allowing you to safely enter deeper poses or stretches. Hot yoga works exceedingly well to achieve harmony, helping the mind act in synchronization with the body.
Many athletes take up hot yoga to improve their overall performance. Well-stretched muscle tissues have improved range of motion and are less at risk of tearing. Joints in good alignment are less pain-prone in high impact physical activities. The breath control of yoga improves execution in cardio and anaerobic activities.
The poses in hot yoga include postures that generate an enormous amount of body heat. This combined with the heat of the room produces heavy sweating that helps flush toxins. Drink a lot of water throughout the day and after a hot yoga class to hydrate and replenish the body.
Stress Reduction and Increased Vitality
Exercise, deep breathing, and reflection cut back anxiety levels, and hot yoga combines all three. The challenge of concentrating on poses in a hot atmosphere distracts and distances you from stressors. Lower stress levels allow for better sleep, which then leads to an improved the immune system. Lower anxiety levels reduce the possibility of illness and injury, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and improve mood.
Many people who want to shed extra pounds look to hot yoga. It increases the pulse rate, so your body then works to keep thermo-regulation – this means you burb more calories without hurting the joints, unlike high-impact jumping jacks or jogging.
Reduce Muscle and Joint Pain
Several joints stop lubricating as effectively as a person gets older. Yoga promotes joint lubrication that may alleviate common feelings of stiffness and soreness.
Flexibility and Mobility
Cold muscles are more likely to tear while stretched. Stretching warm muscles is more effective and lets the practitioner progress deeper into poses. Since stretching is an efficient way to increase flexibility, hot yoga may help increase ones range of motion, reduce accidental injuries in exercise, and help heal prior accidental injuries.
Some styles of yoga tend to be more vigorous, and practicing these will help you improve muscle tone. However, less vigorous styles of yoga, which focuses on less movement and more precise alignment in poses, can provide strength and endurance benefits. Many of the poses, such as downward dog, upward dog, and the plank pose, build upper-body strength. The standing poses, especially if you hold them for several long breaths, build strength in your hamstrings, quadriceps, and abdominal muscles. Poses that strengthen the lower back include upward dog and the chair pose. When practiced correctly, nearly all poses build core strength in the deep abdominal muscles.
Let’s talk numbers for a minute. Yes, hot yoga is relaxing and detoxifying – but it’s also an excellent workout. Regular practice will take you through optimal training zones, helping you burn fat, improve your cardio health and contribute to your overall fitness.
- Warm up Zone = 50 – 60% of your maximum heart rate based on age.
- Fat Burning = 60 – 70% of your maximum heart rate, this zone burns more total fat calories the any other zone.
- Aerobic Zone = 70 – 80% of your maximum heart rate, this improves your cardiovascular and respiratory system and increases the strength of your heart.
- Anaerobic Zone = 80 – 90% of maximum heart rate. The benefits of this zone include an improved VO2 maximum (the highest amount of oxygen one can consume during exercise) and thus an improved cardiorespiratory system.
- Red Line Zone = 90 – 100% of maximum heart rate, although this zone burns the highest number of calories, it is very intense. Most people can only stay in this zone for short periods.
Heart Rate & Calories Burned
An approximate for max heart rate is the basic formula of 220 (men) or 226 (women) subtract your age. As an example, the max heart rate for a 32 year old would be 188 beats per minute (bpm). In the example below, the average heart rate for the duration of the class is 140 bpm or 75% of the peak heart rate.