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Infrared hot yoga is becoming increasingly popular across the United States. This is a fitness trend which involves stretching and sweating in dry, sun-like heat. Instead of using conventional forced air systems to increase the temperatures of yoga studios, the workout uses infrared heating panels to imitate the sun’s warmth. As a result, the radiant energy from these units warms the floor and practitioners’ bodies instead of the surrounding air. More importantly, it’s associated with various infrared heater yoga benefits like promoting skin health, weight loss, and lowering blood pressure.
However, like any other physical exercise, infrared hot yoga is associated with some potential risks. For that reason, it’s good to approach it more cautiously than a regular yoga session. Besides, the hot environment can do more harm than good to some people.
But, what are some of these infrared hot yoga dangers that you should be aware of? Continue reading this post to discover some safety concerns you need to consider when doing infrared hot yoga!
Potential Infrared Hot Yoga Dangers
Naturally, our bodies respond to hot and humid environments through sweat to cool us down. However, when you are in a 105 deg F room with a relative humidity of 40%, the sweat will not evaporate as quickly as it’s supposed to. As a result, you sweat more and more, making you drenched. This increases your risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion, especially if you’re not drinking sufficient fluids during and before the workout session.
The American Association on Exercise conducted a study to measure the core temperature of yoga practitioners during a 90-min traditional heated Bikram yoga class. According to this research, most participants had a core temperature of about 103 deg F. However, one participant exceeded 104 deg F, which poses a high risk for heat-related illnesses.
Although extreme accidents due to heat stroke aren’t very frequent, their symptoms include overheating and dehydration. More importantly, research shows that these are some of the adverse symptoms of hot yoga. Other similar adverse effects that both experienced hot yoga practitioners and beginners can experience include; nausea, dizziness, light-headedness, and cramping. If you experience these symptoms while doing hot yoga, leave the studio or take a relaxing posture for a moment.
Joint Hyperextension and Injury
The high temperatures of infrared hot yoga benefit your muscles in various ways. However, the same cannot be said about ligaments and tendons that protect your joints. Although these joint stabilizers get an extra warm-up from infrared heat, they don’t get much blood flow.
In addition, high temperatures numb the feeling of severe pressure and the pain. This allows your body to stretch and increases your flexibility. As a result, you’ll feel more pliable and limber in a hot yoga session compared to doing a regular yoga class.
Unfortunately, if you overexert yourself or practice too aggressively, you can easily push your body past your usual range of motion, increasing your risk of injury. So, if you’re highly flexible, doing infrared hot yoga exposes you to higher injury risk.
However, you can minimize the risk of injury by listening to your body during the workout session. Also, try to control your movements and stay on your mat throughout the hot yoga session.
In general, infrared hot yoga is considered safe for healthy people provided you know how to adequately prepare and hydrate before, during & after the hot yoga session. More importantly, know what to expect from the hot yoga session and how to listen to your body while exercising.
Nonetheless, certain groups of people are at risk of infrared hot yoga dangers associated with the heated session like hypothermia. People who are at risk of suffering from these problems include pregnant women, diabetics, high/ low blood pressure patients, and anyone with cardiovascular issues.
If you’re suffering from any of these health conditions, consult your doctor before you start any workout in a hot and humid environment.
A certain American Council of Exercise research conducted in 2020 claims that hot yoga is safe for pregnant women with uncomplicated pregnancies. However, further proof shows that doing hot yoga while pregnant increases the risk of neural tube defects and other malformations. So, make sure you first talk to your health professional before you do hot yoga if you’re pregnant.
In addition, avoid attending an infrared hot yoga studio if you have a common cold. That’s because a hot, humid room creates the ideal conditions for spreading bacteria to the instructor and other yoga practitioners.
In general, infrared hot yoga is considered safe as it comes with a lot of health benefits. However, it presents some infrared hot yoga dangers that every practitioner should be aware of before you start your yoga session. For instance, the exercise can loosen your muscles too much, causing injury and overstretching in your ligaments and tendons. Also, infrared hot yoga can lead to heat-related illnesses, dehydration, and other health conditions.
Thankfully, most of these health conditions are avoidable. For example, drinking electrolytes or water during, after, and before your hot yoga session will help to prevent the issue of dehydration. Moreover, make sure you consult a health professional before you do this type of yoga, especially if you’re suffering from heart intolerance, cardiovascular diseases, or heat stroke. On the same note, perform infrared hot yoga with caution if you’ve diabetes, high/ low blood pressure, anorexia nervosa, or a history of fainting.