Does Running in Heat Torch More Calories?

Have you ever noticed that you sweat more while exercising in hot weather? Does it mean that running in heat torches more calories?

It’s a question that many fitness enthusiasts have, and the answer is not straightforward. While it is true that heat can cause you to burn more calories, it also comes with its own set of challenges. In this article, we will explore the science behind running in heat and whether or not it torches more calories.

Factors that Affect Calorie Burn

Before we dive into the effects of heat on calorie burn, let’s first discuss the factors that influence it.

Body Weight

The more you weigh, the more calories you burn during physical activity. This is because your body has to work harder to support your weight while you exercise.

Intensity of Exercise

The intensity of your workout also affects how many calories you burn. A more intensive workout will burn more calories compared to a less intensive one.


Men tend to burn more calories than women during physical activity due to their higher muscle mass and testosterone levels.


As we age, our metabolism slows down. This means that older individuals burn fewer calories during physical activity compared to younger individuals.

Fitness Level

The more fit you are, the more efficient your body becomes at burning calories. As a result, you burn fewer calories during physical activity compared to someone who is not as fit.

How Heat Affects Calorie Burn

Now that we’ve talked about the factors that affect calorie burn, let’s discuss how heat affects it.

The Science Behind It

When you exercise in hot weather, your body’s core temperature rises, and you start to sweat. As a result, your heart rate increases, and your body has to work harder to maintain a safe core temperature.

All the extra work your body has to do under these conditions can lead you to burn more calories.

The Challenges of Running in Heat

Although heat can cause you to burn more calories, it also comes with its own set of challenges.


When you sweat excessively, you lose a lot of water from your body. As a result, you can become dehydrated if you don’t drink enough water to compensate for the loss.

Heat Exhaustion

If you don’t take the necessary precautions, heat exhaustion is a possibility. Symptoms include heavy sweating, fatigue, dizziness, and nausea.

If you experience any of these symptoms, stop exercising immediately and rest in a cool, shaded area while drinking plenty of fluids.


Exercising in hot weather means being exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays for an extended period. As a result, it can increase the risk of sunburn, which can be painful and potentially dangerous.

Tips for Exercising in Heat

Now that you know the potential risks and benefits of exercising in heat, let’s discuss some tips for how to do it safely.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise to avoid dehydration.

Wear Light-Colored, Loose Clothing

Light colors reflect heat, while loose clothing allows for air circulation around your body.

Wear Sunscreen

Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Exercise in the Early Morning or Late Evening

Avoid exercising during the hottest parts of the day (10 am to 4 pm) and opt for early morning or late evening workouts instead.

Listen to Your Body

Stop exercising immediately if you feel dizzy, lightheaded, nauseous, or experience any other unusual symptoms.


Running in heat can lead to burning more calories, but it also comes with its own risks. It is important to take the necessary precautions to exercise safely in hot weather, such as staying hydrated, wearing sunscreen, and listening to your body.

Common Questions and Answers

  • Q: Can running in heat help you lose weight?
  • A: Running in heat can help you lose weight, but it’s not a sustainable long-term solution.
  • Q: How many more calories do you burn when running in heat?
  • A: The exact number of calories burned varies depending on factors like body weight, fitness level, and the intensity of the workout.
  • Q: Is it safe to exercise in extreme heat?
  • A: It can be safe to exercise in extreme heat if you take the necessary precautions, such as staying hydrated and avoiding the hottest parts of the day.
  • Q: How can I stay safe while exercising in heat?
  • A: Stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, avoid exercising during the hottest parts of the day, and listen to your body.


  • Asiedu, D. K., & Harms, C. A. (2018). Acute heat stress increases oxidative stress and impairs energy metabolism in calves. International Journal of Biometeorology, 62(2), 201-207.
  • Casa, D. J., & DeMartini, J. K. (2018). Running in hot and cold environments: a historical perspective. Sports Medicine-Open, 4(1), 54.
  • Kenney, W. L., & Munce, T. A. (2003). Invited Review: Aging and human temperature regulation. Journal of applied physiology, 95(6), 2598-2603.
  • Shan, Z., Chen, S., Sun, T., Sun, Y., & Guo, Y. (2019). Effect of heat wave on exercise-induced cardiac damage. Annals of translational medicine, 7(13).

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