Looking to get the biggest metabolism bang for your buck? Hot yoga can provide a killer workout and may feel more difficult than other yoga styles. Most exercise can provide both a short- and long-term metabolism boost. However, performing your yoga poses in a heated room will probably not raise your metabolism any more than in a regular setting. Instead of metabolism, focus on the other benefits of yoga -- increased flexibility, stronger muscles, better balance and reduced stress.
About Hot Yoga
You may automatically think "Bikram" when it comes to hot yoga, but it can be any yoga style performed in a heated room. Temperatures can reach 105 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, adding to the intensity of the session. Typically, hot yoga incorporates a variety of poses and one or more breathing techniques, working all major muscle groups. The high temperature adds to the intensity of your workout, so it may be difficult for beginners. It is a good idea to practice the poses before setting foot into the scorching studio.
It may seem mysterious, but in a nutshell, metabolism is simply the number of calories you burn. So if you long to lose weight, you want your metabolism to be as high as possible. Most of the energy, or calories, you expend throughout the day is used to sustain your normal body functions. These include circulating blood, breathing and regulating body temperature. The number of calories burned during these activities is your basal metabolic rate, which is affected by genetics, fitness level and even diet. When you exercise or perform daily activities, you use more calories.
Heat and Metabolism
It would be pretty awesome to just crank up the heat and feel your metabolism skyrocket. But the truth is that your metabolism actually revs up during cold conditions as your body fights to stay warm. Although your body also regulates itself in high temperatures, it does so by losing heat, which takes less energy than creating it. You will not speed up your metabolism with short-term exposure to high heat. However, by building more muscle mass you can still raise your basal metabolic rate with hot yoga as well as other yoga styles. Muscle takes more calories to sustain than fat.
Hot Yoga Safety
Hot yoga can be more dangerous than its cooler counterparts and has special safety concerns. Stay away if you have a heart condition, are easily dehydrated or have ever suffered heat stroke. Avoid caffeine before your session and drink plenty of good old H20. The heat can make you overestimate your flexibility, so don't push too hard to achieve the poses. If you feel chest pain or become dizzy, stop immediately. Always practice with a certified, knowledgeable instructor.
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.