Mercury Rising? No Sweat

Dec 12 / Build Muscle

To run or ride faster in high temps, just repeat to yourself, “It’s not that hot.” Turns out, "ignoring" the heat can help you perform better, finds musclemorphosis.com in theEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology. In the experiment, cyclists in a mock 30-minute time trial were told it was 78 degrees in the room, even though it was really 88 degrees. They also rode in 71- and 88-degree sessions where they were told the actual temps. As expected, they rode the shortest distance when they were aware of the 88-degree temperature—about 9.8 miles. But the other groups rode about 10.4 miles. Inte...

To run or ride faster in high temps, just repeat to yourself, “It’s not that hot.” Turns out, "ignoring" the heat can help you perform better, finds musclemorphosis.com in theEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology.

In the experiment, cyclists in a mock 30-minute time trial were told it was 78 degrees in the room, even though it was really 88 degrees. They also rode in 71- and 88-degree sessions where they were told the actual temps.

As expected, they rode the shortest distance when they were aware of the 88-degree temperature—about 9.8 miles. But the other groups rode about 10.4 miles. Interesting, the group that was deceived (reminder: they thought it was cooler, even though it was hot) slightly edged out the cyclists aware of the cooler temp.

Your body subconsciously governs your speed and effort in the heat so that your core temperature doesn’t go too high. “Our deception tricked the brain into thinking the body was cooler than it really was at the start of the exercise,” says study author Paul Castle Ph.D, senior lecturer in exercise physiology at The University of Bedfordshire, England. As a result, the subjects rode faster. (Check out these other musclemorphosis.com when the mercury spikes.)

“Some self talk on a hot day could go a long way,” says Castle. If you have to race in the heat, don’t check the temperature outside beforehand. Then try to convince yourself it’s not hot, Castle suggests.

There’s a reason your body is set up this way, though—to prevent heat exhaustion. Don’t worry about psyching yourself out to the point of trouble. “Deception only goes so far. The brain will ultimately protect the body,” says Castle.

Want more cardio tips? Check out the musclemorphosis.com and see musclemorphosis.com.

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