However lately, sports science experts have additionally been wanting into a distinct technique that may distinctly profit Miami’s crew (and is one thing many extra of us have entry to, whether or not we wish it or not): warmth coaching.
Exercising within the warmth provides an additional dimension of bodily and psychological problem to a exercise, because the thermal stress of the heat and humidity makes it tougher in your physique to remain cool sufficient. For this reason some athletes intentionally topic themselves to sizzling environments to assist their our bodies adapt by growing blood plasma quantity.
However, is warmth coaching secure? And is it as efficient as altitude coaching?
The advantages of warmth coaching vs altitude coaching
Warmth coaching includes exercising in excessive temperatures (85 to 100 levels F) to extend the physique’s means to dissipate warmth and keep core temperature.
“It might enhance endurance, scale back fatigue, and improve cardiac perform and thermoregulatory responses,” explains train physiologist Karissa Bollinger, an ultramarathon runner, and the proprietor of Golden Teacher Wellness LLC. “Moreover, it could enhance muscle glycogen storage and enhance cardio and anaerobic efficiency.”
Whereas there are some overlapping advantages between warmth coaching and altitude coaching, the ideas are fairly totally different.
Altitude coaching includes commonly exercising at excessive altitudes (often over 1,500 meters above sea stage) to enhance athletic efficiency.
“It stimulates the physique’s manufacturing of pink blood cells and helps enhance the quantity of oxygen carried within the blood, which can assist enhance endurance efficiency,” she notes. “Moreover, altitude coaching can also enhance running economy and enhance the anaerobic threshold.”
She explains that whereas sure athletes could profit from doing both warmth coaching or altitude coaching (or each), whether or not it’s higher to do warmth coaching or altitude coaching primarily is determined by that athlete’s particular sport, occasion, and particular person wants.
“Normally, warmth coaching could profit sports activities reminiscent of long-distance working or biking in sizzling, humid situations,” suggests Bollinger. “Alternatively, altitude coaching could also be extra helpful for endurance and high-intensity sports activities reminiscent of distance working, biking, rowing, and cross-country snowboarding.”
What are the physiological variations that happen when coaching in warmth vs altitude?
Within the warmth, the physique experiences a variety of variations to deal with the elevated thermal stress. “These embrace a rise in blood movement to the pores and skin, which helps dissipate warmth by means of sweating and vasodilation of the blood vessels. Because of this, plasma quantity and coronary heart price could enhance to assist keep blood stress throughout train,” explains Bollinger. “Moreover, the physique will increase its manufacturing of warmth shock proteins and prompts the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, which helps regulate fluid stability and electrolyte ranges in response to dehydration.”
Bollinger contrasts this towards the physiological variations that outcome from coaching at altitude, that are led to because of the diminished availability of oxygen within the air at increased elevations.
“These [changes] embrace a rise in air flow, a rise in pink blood cell manufacturing, and a rise in capillary density. These variations assist the physique transport oxygen extra effectively to the working muscle tissues and keep cardio efficiency at increased altitudes,” explains Bollinger. “Moreover, coaching at altitude can also enhance muscle buffering capability, which helps delay the onset of fatigue throughout high-intensity train.”
Primarily, there are shared advantages, however every environmental stressor results in totally different physiological variations. Warmth coaching primarily helps to reinforce thermoregulatory perform (your physique’s cooling mechanisms) and enhance warmth tolerance, whereas altitude coaching helps to enhance oxygen transport, cardio capability, and oxygen utilization at excessive altitudes.
Additionally, athletes usually must spend a number of weeks to months at excessive altitude to see optimistic variations. But analysis suggests you’ll be able to see the consequences of warmth coaching after only one to 2 weeks of figuring out in excessive temps for an hour a day, says Bollinger.
What are the downsides of warmth and altitude coaching?
There are limits to how a lot you’ll be able to safely practice within the warmth—extended publicity can enhance your danger of warmth exhaustion, dehydration, and different heat-related illness, warns Bollinger. Look out for unusually heavy sweating, weak point, fatigue, dizziness, headache, muscle cramps, or nausea. “In extreme instances, warmth stroke could happen, which is a doubtlessly life-threatening situation that requires fast medical consideration.”
Bollinger additionally factors out that warmth coaching will not be as efficient for enhancing cardio capability and train financial system as altitude coaching. And it merely feels tougher, which might result in much less intense exercises (or skipping exercises altogether).
In the meantime, she says that coaching at excessive altitudes can put you at risk for altitude sickness, which might trigger signs like complications, dizziness, and nausea. Bollinger explains that whereas altitude coaching is meant to enhance cardio perform, if it’s important to cut back the depth and length of your coaching because of the issue figuring out in air with much less oxygen, altitude coaching can backfire. Additionally, know this: “The variations induced by altitude coaching could also be short-lived and should not switch on to sea-level situations,” she provides.
How on a regular basis athletes can take benefit
Altitude coaching is often a luxurious solely possible for elite athletes, however Bollinger says that leisure athletes can incorporate warmth coaching or altitude coaching into their routine if they’ve the means and medical clearance to take action (and ideally a coach who might help them do it safely).
Even in case you dwell at decrease altitudes, you’ll be able to strive sporting an altitude coaching masks or take an altitude coaching class.
Warmth coaching is extra seemingly going to be probably the most possible choice for the common individual, although. “On a regular basis athletes can attempt to incorporate warmth publicity into their coaching routine by sporting additional layers of clothes, figuring out in a heated room or sauna, or in the course of the hottest elements of the day,” Bollinger suggests.
To assist maximize the protection and effectiveness of warmth coaching, Bollinger shares some ideas:
1. Acclimatize steadily:
Begin with shorter warmth publicity exercises. “It’s best to steadily enhance the length and depth of warmth publicity over time to keep away from heat-related diseases,” advises Bollinger. This can assist give your physique time to regulate to the warmth.
2. Keep hydrated:
Drink loads of water earlier than, throughout, and after your exercise to keep up correct hydration.
3. Costume appropriately:
Put on light-colored, loose-fitting garments that permit sweat to evaporate. Keep away from darkish colours or tightly fitted clothes, since it might probably entice warmth.
4. Time your exercises:
When it’s a real scorcher on the market, keep away from exercising in the course of the hottest a part of the day. As an alternative, intention for early morning or late night exercises when the temperature is cooler.
5. Take breaks:
It’s important to take frequent breaks to chill down in case you really feel such as you’re overheating.
6. Use sunscreen:
Apply sunscreen earlier than heading outdoors to guard your self from dangerous UV rays.
7. Hearken to your physique:
In the event you really feel dizzy, lightheaded, or expertise another uncommon signs, cease your exercise instantly and relaxation within the shade or a cool space.
8. Do not skip the calm down
Assist deliver your physique again to resting steadily by means of a stable cooldown, like a 10-minute stroll on the finish of your run.
9. Seek the advice of your physician:
In case you have an underlying medical situation or are taking any remedy, seek the advice of your physician earlier than beginning a warmth coaching program.