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BBJ Fitness Corner | Environmental conditions and athletic performance: Acclimatization

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A TEAM usually has the upper hand when challenged in an environment where its players are most comfortable. It’s called “home-court advantage.” 

Hence athletes train under every single condition to acclimatize themselves and continue to perform well under any circumstances.

Gold's Gym personal trainer Jerry Diaz experienced this challenge 10 years ago when he trained for the Las Vegas Tough Mudder Obstacle Course in Nevada.

“I had never been to Nevada. Before going there, I began running six to 10 miles every other day. Over the weekend, I usually ran between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to adapt to the weather in Nevada.”

However, when he arrived in Las Vegas, the weather was not what he expected. The temperature was around 50 degrees and the course was on the mountain side, which dropped the temperature to about 45 degrees.

Diaz managed to complete the course safely, but the weather affected his breathing flow, and he had to keep moving due to the chill factor. “Having that experience definitely taught me to prepare and be more aware of the environmental conditions ahead of time instead of focusing on just building strength and conditioning. Before heading to Nevada I could have run early morning or late in the evening to simulate a different climate.”

He said athletes must be aware of environmental challenges, which include warm or cold weather, high altitude, air quality, rain, wind speed, indoor atmospheric conditions, crowd noise, and so much more. All these factors can affect an athlete’s performance, Diaz added.

 

Shaunn Manglona smiles during a PIC 5K Color Run. Contributed photo

 

Patty Cruz performs punching drills with personal trainer Jerry Diaz at Gold's Gym. Contributed photo

“When Kelvin ‘The Big Hit’ Fitial and I went to Australia for his MMA fight, we had less than a week to acclimate to the environmental factors there. We were thrust into big crowds and meals that were new to our system. Our routine was definitely out of our comfort level. It was a factor in  Kelvin’s performance against his opponent, Ben Sosoli who is from Australia. When they had their first bout on Guam, it was Ben  who had to fly for over 13 hours and acclimate to our tropical weather.” Fitial won on Guam; Sosoli won in Australia.

Diaz said it is essential to be psychologically aware of environmental and other conditions when participating in off-island sporting events. Athletes and their trainers must prepare for the worst to stay competitive, he added.

The ability of an athlete to overcome environmental conditions is related to the training concept of acclimatization, which is based on the natural ability of the human body to adapt to its surroundings over time.  Experts say that the best way to simulate the body’s adaptation and acclimatization with a specific environment is to be there and personally experience it.

 

References

https://simplifaster.com/articles/environmental-effects-performance/

http://www.recognizetorecover.org/environmental

 

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