Is there an ideal temperature for training? Better to train on hot days or on cold days? What are the benefits and risks for the body? Let’s find out!
Outside of Brazil it is possible to find heated or frozen studios with the aim of improving performance or aesthetics. In Brazil this fashion has not yet caught on, but in our country we have the extremes: we can train in the heat of 40ºC or in the cold of 4ºC.
But which of these temperatures is better to train? Is there any benefit at the extremes?
Hot temperature training
The human body seeks to maintain the internal body temperature at approximately 37ºC. During exercise, the energy release process ends up increasing body temperature. It is very dangerous for the body to have a body temperature above 40 ° C and that is why our body has different ways to keep that temperature below that.
One of the ways to do this is through sweating, sweat. The warm blood is sent to the region closest to the skin, which is usually 1ºC below the body temperature (that’s why the thermometer has a healthy temperature of 36ºC). To keep the skin cool, sweat evaporates by exchanging heat with the environment, which is why in humid places with very high temperatures it is difficult for the body to make this exchange, making the activity extremely exhausting.
We soon realized that aerobic activities (running, cycling, rowing, etc.) in very hot and humid environments are not highly recommended. Anaerobic activities (such as weight training) and stretching can be done at moderate intensities.
It is necessary to keep the fluid intake (water or electrolytic) constant due to the body’s defense in maintaining body temperature. To learn how to hydrate yourself properly read this article .
The body with high temperatures will find it easier to contract muscle cells, but that does not mean that it will consume more calories or have a better result. Studies show that the amount of calories burned at a temperature of 20ºC and 35ºC are the same.
Heated muscles also show greater ease for stretching exercises and prevent injuries. So the important thing is to do a good muscle warm-up and for that, read this article.
Regular activities at very high temperatures can help to gain conditioning in activities that are also in hot environments, however there is no extra gain for that, just a better habituation with the environment.
Training in cold temperatures
In the cold, the difference between body temperature and room temperature is much greater, making the sweating process explained above easier. Often sweating is not even necessary, because the cold in contact with the skin is enough to cool the blood.
One study showed that the best temperature for resistance activities is 10º Celsius. At very low temperatures, the body finds it difficult to maintain high body temperature and physical activity can be impaired.
In the extreme cold, our body gets to shiver, contracting and relaxing the muscle quickly so that it produces energy and heat in the process. The advantage is that more calories are burned in the process.
Another benefit found is that in the cold the body usually burns more fats to generate energy. That is why to lose weight, physical activity in the cold can be very beneficial and for this reason several training studios around the world have special rooms with a temperature of 7º C, in order to help with weight loss.
However, at low temperatures, muscle contraction is not as efficient and the risk of injury is much greater.
So what is the best temperature to train?
Whether your goal is to gain muscle or improve flexibility, higher temperatures will bring you more benefits. However, if the goal is to lose weight or endurance activities, training at lower temperatures can be more advantageous.
In the heat you should be concerned with hydration and in the cold you should be careful with intense activities so as not to run the risk of injury.