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Turning up the heat: Hot yoga uses triple-digit temps to intensify workout

Most people go indoors to escape the Las Vegas triple-digit temperatures. Some people go indoors to exercise in triple digits.

They are devotees of hot yoga and hot Pilates, where the room temperature is cranked up, and the humidity is increased.

Kelsey Sellman, manager at 103 Hot Pilates & Yoga, 4245 S. Grand Canyon Drive, Suite 118, said doing the exercises in a heated environment versus a regular workout room “allows your body to open up a lot more, the muscles and connective tissues. And it also detoxes because it’s a greater sweat than you’re going to get in a regular studio.”

Vegas Hot! Yoga & Pilates has two locations — 5875 S. Rainbow Blvd., Suite 206, and 7520 W. Washington Ave., Suite 150. Julie Snow is one of the instructors and leads classes in rooms with temperatures as high as 105 degrees and humidity kept around 40 percent. Typical workout facilities are kept at 68 to 72 degrees, per American College of Sports Medicine guidelines.

Always a workout enthusiast, Snow was first introduced to the hot room concept in 2003 and called it, “transformational. I knew after that first class that this was something I wanted to do. It’s very challenging. … The rewards of how you feel afterwards are what keep you coming back.”

What would she caution newbies?

“Make sure you stay hydrated,” Snow said. “When you’re in the hot room, you’re losing potassium, sodium and magnesium, so you just have to make sure you replace those minerals.”

Sellman said even though the room is overheated, a warm-up is still necessary for joints and muscles.

The amount of time it takes to cool down varies by the individual.

“I know some people who take cold showers, some take hot,” Sellman said. “I get freezing cold as soon as I walk out of the room and into the air conditioning. Anything under 100 degrees feels cold.”

She said it was not for those in puberty, as their sweat system is not fully developed.

Sellman said hot yoga and hot Pilates help keep people young. One of her clients is 77.

“The sweat detoxes you,” Sellman said. “You leave the room, and you feel refreshed.”

If you go in wearing makeup, expect it to melt off, Sellman warned. During workout sessions, humidity collects on the walls and trickles down them. Mats and equipment are disinfected constantly.

Dr. Michael Gunter of Summerlin Hospital Medical Center said that according to a 2013 study on hot yoga, healthy adults increased their dead lift strength and improved their flexibility.

“They lost body fat,” he said. “So, what we find, subjectively, is that people feel better. They have improved metal clarity, improved ability to concentrate.”

Gunter said if a person has something such as epilepsy, heart disease or hypertension, they should not engage in hot Pilates/yoga. It also is not recommended for pregnant women or those trying to get pregnant.

He said the recommendation was to practice hot yoga three days a week in 90-minute sessions.

“If you do it regularly, you’re going to keep your body more in check and the toxin levels down,” Gunter said. “I think it’s a great thing for people to do for flexibility, for balance, for mental clarity. … It’s been shown, in some people, to improve blood pressure over time.”

Contact Summerlin Area View reporter Jan Hogan at jhogan@viewnews.com or 702-387-2949.

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