When I jog in hot summer weather, I always assume I’m burning more calories versus running the same distance in other seasons. Let’s face it, I’m drenched in sweat within the first 5 minutes and am breathing at a heavier rate due to the heat and humidity.
Until now, I’d never researched how or if we burn more calories when exercising in warm weather.
So, does jogging in hot weather burn more calories?
Yes and no.
Per LiveScience, our cardiovascular system has to transition into overdrive to cool the body down and maintain a steady body temperature when we exercise in the heat. Hence, all things being equal, our energy expenditure is greater when training in 90 degrees than 50. And, as a result, we burn more calories.
“During exercise, your body temperature increases to support the physical demands of the task,” exercise physiotherapist Helen O’Leary told LiveScience.
“The body then regulates its temperature by sweating so that heat can dissipate into the air. Add to this process a hot climate, and your body has to work even harder to reduce its temperature.”
So, yes, all things being equal, we burn more calories when jogging in hot weather.
Keywords: All things being equal.
Training in heat can be a double-edged sword calorie-wise. If we run faster on 50-degree days, we can burn more calories than if we ran the same distance on 90-degree days.
Of course, it’s usually easier to jog in mild temperatures when our bodies aren’t under the level of stress a 90-degree day would bring.
Only if we maintain relatively the same pace in both temperature settings and jog about the same distance, will we burn additional calories on a hot day.
In mild or cool temperatures, the typical runner can achieve better results, cardiovascularly, and burn more calories, because we can run faster and farther due to less stress on the body.
Exercising in hot weather can increase our risk of heat exhaustion and dehydration.
“You can still exercise in hot weather but it is important to consider a few things,” O’Leary said. “The higher the temperature, the greater the risk of dehydration or heat stroke. Look at when the day is cooling off and try to time your exercise for then. This generally means earlier mornings or later evenings.”
“Knowing your exercise level is really important,” said O’Leary. If you have never exercised before, going for a run in the hot midday sun is not a good idea. Instead, build up your tolerance slowly and remember things take time to adjust!”