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Hot Yoga: You'll Break A Sweat, But Be Careful


The extra lengths some go to for exercise.  Hot yoga’s grown in popularity over the years.  but exercise in a hot environment can be dangerous if you’re not careful. 

Highlights from the interview with Andrew Cunha, a physical therapist with Parkland Hospital System:

Pros and cons of hot yoga: “Hot Yoga is your traditional yoga – stretching, meditating, and holding positions in a temperature-controlled environment, roughly 90 to 105 degrees and 40 percent humidity. And you do the same yoga poses that you normally do in that environment. The causes: Some people think that by being in that environment, there’ll be more sweating. Or it can increase your cardiovascular output. Cause it’ll put a little more strain on the system and make your heart beat a little faster. Maybe increase some calorie burn. Also, a lot of sweat can help with cleansing your pores. It can help with your skin. And there’s even some studies that show a lot of sweating can actually help fight off some different bacteria because our bodies do emit a bit of antimicrobials  when we sweat and that helps keep germs away.”

Cons? “That temperature along is going to put a higher stress on the system. It’s not what we would recommend for people with heart conditions. It’s going to stress the cardiovascular system, so it’s going to cause a little more strain on that. If you already have things like high blood pressure, high heart rate, things like that, it’s going to stress that even more. And so that could put you in more potential risk for heart attack, or exacerbating those symptoms and causing some problems.”

What is sweat? “Sweating is the way we cool our bodies down. When we do activities, our core temperature goes up. So what the body does is push fluids to the surface of the skin. That fluid evaporates and cools our body down.”

Is it necessary to sweat regularly? “It is because you want to maintain a normal temperature in our body. So as the temperature rises with what we do during the day or any kind of workout or activity, we need to cool it back down. The body will do it naturally when it needs it.”

For more information:

You Asked: Is Hot Yoga Good For You—And For Weight Loss?

3 hidden dangers of hot yoga and other exercise fads

Yoga: Its Origin, History and Development

Sam Baker is KERA's senior editor and local host for Morning Edition. The native of Beaumont, Texas, also edits and produces radio commentaries and Vital Signs, a series that's part of the station's Breakthroughs initiative. He also was the longtime host of KERA 13’s Emmy Award-winning public affairs program On the Record. He also won an Emmy in 2008 for KERA’s Sharing the Power: A Voter’s Voice Special, and has earned honors from the Associated Press and the Public Radio News Directors Inc.