Waah, it’s hot. So goes summer’s top training gripe. Are you ready for yoga exercises? These counterintuitive tricks will help you adapt to the rising mercury, making your sessions feel less taxing, which will improve your performance. Practice any yoga exercises for at least 20 minutes, every other day, for five to 10 days before training or competing in high temps. P.S. Stay hydrated!
1 / TAKE A REALLY STEAMY BATH. A recent study found that sitting in a 105°F bathtub (imagine: just below scalding) after a treadmill workout six days in a row helped athletes slice time off a 5-K. The superhot water trains your body to deal with heat in real time. Yoga exercises make your body flexible and strong.
2 / OVERDRESS YOURSELF. Wearing layers during your gym workouts (or when it’s mild outside—say, low 70s) also teaches your body to embrace a higher core temp, which you’ll face outdoors. Yoga exercises can make you feel heat.
Pile on enough so that you’re sweaty within five to 10 minutes of your workout, then call it quits after 30. (Stop if you feel dizzy or your heart is racing.) You should listen to your body when you do yoga exercises.
3 / HANG OUT IN THE STEAM ROOM. The moisture helps adjust your body to humidity. (The H word can doubly kill your energy because it causes you to lose more water via sweat.) Training in a dry climate? Hit the sauna for dry heat.
Source: Christopher Minson, Ph.D.. professor of human physiology. University of Oregon, and codirector. Exercise & Environmental Physiology Lab
Just as dog lovers tend to favor either small or large pups, yogis generally fall into slow or fast camps. So which is better? Glad you asked! A smart yoga routine should incorporate both—ideally one power vinyasa sesh for every two slow sequences (like hatha) per week. Each type of yoga exercises has its own perks; choose your day’s flow based on the body benefits below.
SLOW YOGA EXERCISES
Holding a pose will…
- Increase flexibility as you fight through tension and tightness.
- Improve muscular endurance with isometric (i.e., still) muscle contractions.
- Develop your mental toughness during uncomfortable positions (looking at you, chair pose!).
POWER YOGA EXERCISES
Moving through rapid transitions will…
E Burn up to two more calories per minute than slow flows (that’s 120 extra cals torched in an hour-long class), says new research.
E Increase muscle activation significantly, helping you get stronger faster (FYI, your muscles will recover during static poses).
E Reduce pulled-muscle injuries, thanks to the extra-dynamic stretches.
Source: Melanie Potiaumpai, doctoral research assistant, University ofMiami
Buff or bluff?
Desk Fitness Equipment
BLUFF! First came treadmill desks. Then standing desks. Now, mini ellipticals and bike pedals that slip under your desk, so you can burn cals on the down-low. But…can you actually? Jessica Matthews, an exercise scientist for the American Council on Exercise, says you might erase a couple hundred throughout the day (if you step for three-ish hours) and improve circulation. “But you’d likely have to stop focusing on your tasks so you could work hard enough to speed your heart rate into even a moderate activity zone,” she says. A few 10-minute brisk walks around the block could do the same (and spare you the $100 to $350 price tag).