Working out in the summer heat is rough, but taking a bath might just make those summer sweat sessions a little easier.
A study recently published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looked at a group of nine runners and had them complete four 5K runs in 90-degree weather to study what, if any, impact preparation had in their performance.
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The study, which contained eight men and one woman, had the participants run once without prepping at all, once after pre-cooling their bodies with cooling vests and underwear before dunking arms in cold water, once after five days of biking for 90 minutes in 99-degree weather, and once after a combo of both the heating and cooling preps.
The best results came when participants didn't prepare before their 5K, but had done the five days of biking in the heat.
The study didn't look into why, but the theory is that exposure to heat over time can teach the body to adapt and be more efficient at keeping the body cool. This natural adaptation leads to better performance.
But you don't have to start biking in miserable heat to get this adaptation benefit.
Lead study author Carl James says that you can get similar results simply by soaking in a hot bath for 30 minutes following a 30-minute run. The post-run relaxation soak may help condition your body to the heat and improve performance on your next outing.
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