Can running in the sun improve athletic performance?

But perhaps in a tropical country, we can just focus on staying safe under the sun

9/26/2021 6:13:00 PM

Some studies show improvements in athletes who have done heat training but in a tropical country, we might also need to focus on staying safe under the sun | multisportPH

But perhaps in a tropical country, we can just focus on staying safe under the sun

Art by Nimu Muallam | Photos by RG Medestomas (lead) and Miguel AldeguerIn the searing Manila summers of my college days, there was a sound you’d hear beating around the streets of the campus. You’d hear it at around noon–a gentletap tap tap.And to the astonishment of many friends and some amused onlookers, the sound was made by a very red-faced me, running around the campus at midday. In my defense, it was my only free time.

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Looking back, now with a stronger performance base, I often wonder whether it was these scorched running sessions that built just a bit more resilience into my running capacity. In a writing world that explores the gray area between false dichotomies, did my running in the heat help me out or was I just a bit of a stubborn fool?

Would there be any reason to run in the heat anyway?In 2016, one authorwrites, “Researchers have been looking at the effects of heat on athletic performance for decades.” So I’m not the first person to posit the question, but I’m beginning to look a lot less foolish.

After all, there is some sense to thinking: If I can perform well with the added stimulus of the warm sun, under cooler conditions I will perform even better.In anarticlepublished by The Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut, heat acclimation is loosely defined as “a complex series of changes or adaptations that occur in response to heat stress in a controlled environment over the course of 7 to 14 days.” Similarly, they define heat acclimatization as the same process but in a natural environment, e.g. outside during lunchtime on an on-campus run.

I often wonder whether it was these scorched running sessions that built just a bit more resilience into my running capacityThese processes have benefits for athletes, including reductions in heart rate and rating of perceived exertion. Meanwhile, increases were observed in sweat rate, blood flow, and exercise performance in the heat and cooler conditions.

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