The idea of extra layers when running was made famous in the movie Rocky in 1976. Sylvester Stallone, playing Rocky Balboa, had several attempts at running up the 72 stone steps in front of the Museum of Art in Philadelphia and finally makes it to the top in one go. It’s probably one the most iconic scenes in the movies ever.
In these scenes, the character is dressed in numerous layers of tracksuits, gloves and a beanie. This look is still copied by many people out running or training at the gym. It may seem quite uncomfortable and hot to many because you are going to sweat so much more. The fabric of the clothing will also hold onto the moisture, becoming heavier and heavier.
So, why do people dress like this for intense training?
It Helps You Lose Weight
Or so the theory goes. The idea is that you are carrying a bit more when you train, making your body work harder. Therefore, you should lose more weight in a session than you would without the extra clothing. The extra clothing and the weight it gains from your sweat will amplify your workout and allow you to burn off more calories in the same time frame.
The extra sweating is also supposed to be good for you as it allows you to rid your body of more toxins while you work out. This, theoretically, leads to a healthier body that can work out harder.
Some people even go so far as to wrap plastic around them – either cling film or trash bags. This amplifies the sweating and heat build up even more than the extra layers of clothing.
The Big Risks Involved
One of the biggest concerns around this style of training from healthcare professionals is that it can lead to dehydration and heat exhaustion. Even in cold weather, too much clothing while exercising can impact your body negatively. The body heats up too much and your core doesn’t have a chance to cool down while you continue to exercise.
As you continue to exercise and heat up, your body is likely to undergo physical stress. This can lead to muscle and ligament problems or injuries. You may also find that you are unable to exercise at maximum intensity because your body becomes exhausted too quickly. All of this is actually counter to the entire purpose you were hoping to achieve with the added clothing layers.
Other concerns involve a change to your natural movements thanks to the bulk of the extra layers. For example, if you are wearing thick pants or two layers of pants to go running, your stride may be altered due to the thickness of the fabric. This can have an impact so many things in your body and lead to some serious injuries over time.
Many studies have also failed to prove that an increase in sweating will lead to more calories being burned as you exercise.