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You Burn More Calories in Hot or Cold Environment?

January 9th, 2010 · No Comments ·


I am not sure whether you have thought about this question – do you burn more calories exercising in hot or cold weather? The answer to this question can be more complicated than you probably think.

We have two schools of thought when come to burning calories in different environment:

1) People Who Think They Burn More Calories When Exercising In Hot Weather

  • More than 70 percent of the energy used by your muscles during workout is lost as heat. So, your muscles are warmer when you exercise hard. Your heart needs to pump the hot blood from your heated muscles to your skin so that hear can be dissipated. The hotter it is, the more work your heart has to do. So, more calories are burnt.
  • Also, this camp of people uses hot yoga classes as one of the supporting claims that exercising in hot environment will burn more calories and therefore losing weight.

2) People Who Think They Burn More Calories When Exercising In Cold Weather

  • This group of people believe that when one is shivering during the exercise in cold weather, he will burn more calories. Bear in mind that shivering is an involuntary clenching of muscles and its purpose is to warm you up. Apart from that, some energy is required to heat the air entering the lungs when you breathe.
  • In addition to shivering, when you have to run and rub your hands together, you end up burning more calories. Also, more calories will be burnt if the exercisers wear bulky clothing.

Mun’s Comments

  • If you look at the claims from scientific perspective, most claims made above from different camps are true with the exception of the weight loss after hot yoga classes. Like what I mentioned in my post of The Truth Behind Losing Weight by Having Sauna or Steam Bath, the weight loss is caused by water loss. Once you drink, the weight will come back.
  • Also, shivering might be good for calorie expenditure, but it is terrible for performance. Once you are shivering with teeth are chattering, your muscles are probably tense and tight. You may decide to go back to your house and not exercising at all. In fact, I hope that people will not use this as a reason and decide to go out jogging during winter with only swimming trunks.


The conclusion is that you should choose whichever environment you feel comfortable to exercise. Only the place which encourages you to work out most frequent and the longest is the best suit you. So, don’t get bothered with this small little issue and forget about the big picture. Just pack and get ready to exercise!



Category: Health

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