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Do You Really Burn More Calories When You Exercise in the Heat?

So, summer is officially here. But, when it comes to exercise, there can be some downsides (i.e. sweating like you've never sweated before), but as long as you're drinking sufficient water, slathering on SPF like it's your full time job and stopping before the heat/workout combo gets too much, there's not much to say you can't be exercising outside in warmer weather. But does working out under the day's rays lead to you burning more kcals?

The answer, annoyingly, is 'possibly' and it's all to do with your basal metabolic rate. This is 'the amount of energy we expend per unit time at rest, or a measure of how quickly you break down fuels (calories) to keep your cells running.

Warmer weather may cause a slight increase in the basal metabolic rate, helping you burn those calories a little bit faster, because the body is working extra hard to keep you cool.

However, there are no firm scientific studies to prove exactly how many more calories you would burn.

Greg Drach, an ultra marathon runner, points out that any increase in calorie burn you might see as a result of warm surroundings would probably only last a short amount of time anyway – because the body learns to adjust.

Someone who may not be used to working out in hot weather may burn more calories than someone who has been practicing for a long time, however over time your body will condition to work less hard under such temperatures and your calories burnt during the workout will naturally decrease,' he says.

Bottom line: Should you exercise in hot weather?

It's super important to remember that if you do decide to work out in high temperatures, the need for hydration is extra important. 'Exercising in a heatwave is riskier as you can dehydrate or get a heat stroke,' warns Greg.

Make the most of your workout in the heat by wearing the right clothing (a white breathing cap and light workout outfit), stay hydrated, and try not to workout out in the middle of the day, but rather aim for early morning or late evening workouts.

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