I’m sweating at my desk as I type this, so it’s hard to imagine anyone voluntarily subjecting themselves to even greater heat and humidity by going to a hot yoga class. But that’s what players from the Canadian women’s field hockey team did a few years ago during their Olympic qualifying period, as part of an experiment whose results were recently published. The goal was to use hot yoga as an accessible way of triggering adaptations to heat without the need for an expensive heat chamber—and the results, as I reported in my Globe and Mail column, were promising.
[Last-minute update: as I send this, Amazon is selling the electronic version of my book Endure for $2.30 in the U.S. and $2.99 in Canada. That’s way below the usual price, so now’s a great time to check it out!]
My Sweat Science column for Outside took on the following topics last month:
- Italian researchers used a questionnaire to assess “emotional intelligence” in runners before a half-marathon—and found that their scores predicted their finishing times even better than their training history.
- On a related note, a randomized trial of elite Danish handball players found that mindfulness training improved decision times and reduced errors—a hint that brain training protocols may prove to be useful in sport.
- A huge biomechanics study from last year’s track and field world championships produced some surprising insights, such as the fact that 70 percent of elite marathoners at the championships landed on their heels first while running.
- Another biomechanics study used accelerometers and machine learning to classify runners as either “competitive” or “recreational” based on their running stride. While this may sound a bit silly, it could be useful for understanding why new runners get injured so frequently.
- Finally, a major review paper argues that the idea of “periodization,” which involves adjusting your training to focus on different goals at different times of year, should be broadened to include things like recovery aids, nutrition, and psychological training.
Hope you’re having a great summer, and thanks for the interest!
Alex Hutchinson
P.S. If you haven’t checked it out, here are some links for ordering my new book, ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance:
- U.S.: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound
- Canada: Indigo, Amazon, McNally Robinson
- U.K. / Australia / New Zealand
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