If you’re looking to get in shape, joining a big box gym is a fantastic place to start.
However, if you’re sensitive to temperature while you’re working out, it’s fair to wonder if you’ll be comfortable at the gym.
After all, a big space packed with sweaty people and machinery might get super hot! Or, maybe worse, the AC might be blasting and you’ll find yourself freezing during your workout.
So let’s take a look: Do gyms have air conditioning? And what should you do if you’re too hot or cold at the gym?
Here’s everything you need to know about temperature and humidity control at most commercial gyms.
Do gyms have air conditioning?
Almost all commercial gyms in well-developed countries around the world have air conditioning, heating, and humidity control.
Whether the air conditioning is used, and how, will ultimately depend on multiple factors.
Obviously, during the colder seasons. don’t expect your gym to be running the air conditioner. They should have heating to keep things nice and warm inside, even if it’s frigid outside.
However, during the hotter summer months, gyms will use the air conditioning strategically to keep members comfortable.
The average temperature of a gym is ultimately going to vary throughout the different parts of the gym.
Most areas of the gym will be kept a little bit cooler than you might keep your house. Since you’ll be exerting yourself and sweating, it’s the gym’s job to keep you cool but not too cold.
For example, an aerobics or group fitness classroom should be no warmer than 68 degrees, and have a humidity level no higher than 50 percent.
Other gym areas, like the cardio and weight training floors, should have a temperature between 65 and 68 degrees.
Pool, spa, and sauna areas, meanwhile, should be in the 70 to 80 degree range.
For these areas, humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent is ideal.
Does temperature matter for working out?
Is the temperature at the gym something you should worry about?
If your local gym runs at the extremes (way too hot or way too cold), it could pose a problem for your workouts.
One of the major reasons why under-air-conditioning is a problem is that when you overheat, your body undergoes certain amounts of pressure.
When you become warm, your body circulates blood through your skin to keep you cool. Inevitably, this results in your muscles receiving less blood, which then increases your heart rate.
This can be a dangerous combination during exercise when temperatures get super high.
It also can aversely affect your performance in the gym.
Excessive humidity may also prevent your sweat from evaporating, which in turn increases your body temperature.
Again, at the extremes (if your gym is too hot or not air conditioned), you could suffer from heat cramps, or even fainting.
Taking frequent breaks and staying hydrated are good ways to keep the risks of heat exhaustion down.
Now what if your gym seems to always be cranking the air conditioning to the max? Is it bad if your gym is too cold?
For starters, working out in a cold room (or outside when it’s cold) requires a longer warm up period. Your muscles won’t be able to perform at their best right away.
In this case, you may find yourself actually tiring yourself out more quickly and/or needing more overall time at the gym.
Overall, though, if your gym can keep things in that 65-70 degree range, a few degrees in either direction won’t have a big impact on your workouts.
Ultimately, one thing you have to make sure of is how air conditioning affects you.
Some people run warm, some people run cold. Some people like the extra sweat from working out in the heat, and some people like it cold so they can stay cool while they exercise.
Take a tour of your local gym before you sign a contract and ask the staff about temperature and humidity control.
Even better, try a free gym trial and exercise there a few times to see how it feels.
What to do if you’re too hot or cold at the gym
It’s important to prepare for different temperatures if you’re sensitive to comfort while working out.
If you’re getting too hot while working out at the gym, try:
- Take a break to lower your heart rate and body temperature
- Hydrate religiously!
- Wear lighter clothes, like just a stringer or sports bra — just be sure to check the gym dress code
- Cooldown properly after your workout
If you’re too cold at the gym, and finding it tough to get started, here’s what you can do:
- Layer up. Start in a hoodie or sweatpants and strip down to shorts and tanks as you warm up.
- Take an extended warm up before exercising (even if you hate warming up!)
- Work out in a warmer area of the gym. You can try swimming workouts in the indoor pool.
But ultimately, if you’re struggling with the temperature at your gym, you may need to address the root cause.
Speak to the staff and see if the gym is too cold or hot on purpose, and if there’s anything they can do about the temperature control.
If not, you may need to find another gym.
Most gyms will be equipped with an air conditioner and heating, and will aim to keep the facilities between 65-70 degrees in most parts of the gym.
(Pool and spa areas might be kept warmer, around 70-80 degrees or so.)
There are measures that can be taken to deal with feeling too hot or cold in your environment, such as warm-up exercises, dressing appropriately for the temperature, and hydrating if you feel like you are overheating.
However, remember that the quality of your workout is not going to change all that much depending on the temperature of the gym — as long as it’s within the normal range.
If your gym can’t keep things comfortable, find a different one that can!
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Hope this helps!