Hot yoga effects on the metabolic rate


Q: I've started to do Bikram (Hot) Yoga instead of my regular yoga regiment. I've been hearing that since the heat in the room raises your heart rate, the work counts as cardiovascular exercise, and according to my heart rate monitor I've burned over 700 calories in some sessions. But I've also read that the intense heat does nothing but dehydrate you, and I'm burning 100-200 calories at best. Which is correct? Does a higher heart rate necessarily mean I'm getting a cardio workout?


A:   Bikram (Hot) yoga claims the heated studio facilitates deeper stretching, injury prevention, and stress and tension relief. Like many forms of yoga, immense amounts of focus and discipline are required to complete a session. There is much controversy as to whether or not performing strenuous exercise in a room over 100 degrees is safe, and it is important to stay well hydrated. It is common for beginners to experience dizziness and nausea. Although the high room temperature and humidity could theoretically raise the metabolic rate, burning more calories, I don’t believe this is the aim of hot yoga practice. Metabolic rate also varies from person to person, but the aim of the heated studio is to facilitate stretching and yoga postures and not for a cardio workout.

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