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HEAT TRAINING: Setting the Trends, Here and Now
It’s that time of the year again when the oppressive weather will ruin your workouts. Soon you have to take steps to prevent extreme heat exercise by switching workouts from mid-day to early morning or evening. But very few people realize that heat training is something that helps the body in many ways. It is something that helps us to meet the physiological needs of the workout and cause a series of modifications to improve our stamina.
The athletic performance depends on how easily oxygen can be transported from lungs to muscles through blood. Most athletes prefer altitude training because at high altitude, air is thin and the body reacts by producing more hemoglobin. But somehow, heat training is different from altitude training. Let's see what are the benefits and risk associated with heat training.
INCREASE IN PLASMA VOLUME
After a few days of heat training, you will see that the amount of plasma flowing through your veins is increased up to 20%. Since it is that part of the blood that doesn’t contain any hemoglobin-rich red blood cells, so it's not entirely apparent if more plasma can increase the stamina under mild weather conditions. Extra amount of plasma helps shunt more heat to your skin that enhances the efficiency in extreme heat.
IS EXTRA PLASMA USEFUL?
From the past few years, it is believed that extra amount of plasma impacts on the reduction of the red blood cell concentration in your blood, called hematocrit. This means that your heat training will increase your plasma but will decrease your hematocrit. Kidneys monitor the hematocrit that makes sure that it stays in a normal range. If there is a prolonged drop in your hematocrit, the kidneys respond by producing EPO to cause the formation of more red blood cells rich in hemoglobin.
SANTIAGO LORENZO EXPERIMENT
To understand the effectiveness of heat training, a researcher Santiago Lorenzo recruited 20 cyclists. First, they completed a performance test in moderate condition on two different occasions. All 20 cyclists completed a specified training schedule between the tests, but 12 of them did it in a hot environment while the other eight did their workouts in moderate conditions that matched the performance tests. The cyclists who underwent heat acclimation improved their performance by 6% in a cool performance test. Their VO2max and lactate threshold power production increased by 5%. No differences were seen among those who practiced in a cool climate.
WHY HEAT TRAINING IS GETTING ATTENTION?
It is observed that from the past few years heat training is getting more attention from people. The major reason behind it is that they are fairly comfortable and accessible. No one has the time to visit high altitude before any race or match to perform altitude training. But this is not the same case with heat training. You just have to step out of the door and even can go to a sauna or hot tub after a workout so you can prepare yourself for the big day. Five long weeks of unbearable heat exposure are really hard to commit to. Some people believe that such training can have very little significance in an amateur sport. Nonetheless, their results would certainly draw interest for those looking for every possible benefit. Heat training is very important as it helps the runners to enhance their fitness and improve their running abilities.