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Does Wearing a Sweatshirt While Running Burn More Calories?

author image Patrick Hutchison
Patrick Hutchison has been doing freelance work since 2008. He has worked as a physical therapy aide and as a writer for various websites including Destination Guides and several travel-related companies. Hutchison has a Bachelor of Arts in history and anthropology from the University of Washington.
Does Wearing a Sweatshirt While Running Burn More Calories?
A sweatshirt might make your run feel more intense, but the benefits aren't always worth the risk. Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

What you wear when you workout doesn't just make you look good, it affects how you feel and your performance.Your attire and gear help keep you comfortable and in some cases, is very important to the exercise you are doing, like good shoes for running.

Wearing a sweatshirt while exercising may promote a minor increase in caloric burn, but could pose certain health concerns.

Affects on Heart Rate

When you run, your heart rate increases to supply your body's muscles with an adequate supply of oxygen-enriched blood. The faster your heart beats, the more energy is required and thus, the more calories are burned.

When you wear a sweatshirt, your body temperature increases, circulation increases and heart rate increases in an effort to maintain body temperature. As a result of this increase in heart rate, you may burn a few more calories while wearing a sweatshirt, but it's not always a good idea.

Risk of Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion occurs when body temperature rises and your body is unable to keep up. Heat exhaustion is particularly likely when high temperatures are coupled with intense physical activity.

If you're running in a sweatshirt, you may encourage heat exhaustion or a more serious condition, heat stroke. If you're running with a sweatshirt and you get too hot, immediately take it off. Always stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water when running, too.

Considerations on Intensity and Time

The amount of calories you burn through running is contingent on two main factors: intensity and duration. At higher heart rates, you will burn calories faster. But more intense activities are not as sustainable.

Low-intensity jogging or walking may help you burn more calories than running because you can go for longer. Because sweatshirts will increase the intensity of your exercise, they may limit the duration so severely that it negates the sweatshirt's calorie-burning benefits.

The sweatshirt may also make you so uncomfortable that you can't hit your normal pace, as well. So now, you're running for a shorter period of time at a lower intensity, which only means fewer calories burned.

You'd be better off running at a faster pace for a longer run in comfortable clothes to get your sweat going. The sweatshirt is a distraction, not an asset.

Sweating Myth

It's a common myth that wearing additional layers of clothes makes you lose weight faster, because you sweat more. While wearing a sweatshirt will make you sweat more, the majority of weight lost through sweating is water weight.

Wrestlers and other athletes who attempt to lose significant amounts of weight in a short amount of time often exercise to lose water weight. Water-weight loss is extremely temporary and is not a healthy or sustainable form of weight loss.

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