I have a few topics close to my heart to discuss this week.
First, “heat therapy” or essentially heat training as us old timers call it. Second, the connection between a healthy body and a healthy brain. It’s a real thing. Finally, something I’ve experienced on the benefits of those fitness trackers that seem to keep track of everything you could imagine.
A popular idea in the sports world recently has been heat training. It’s been around in some circles for a while, with some people calling it “poor man’s altitude training”. However, in the last year or two, I’ve seen a lot more interest in it.
Beyond the mental toughness benefit of battling it out in adverse conditions, is there really a benefit to heat training? Apparently, yes.
Some of this is still just theory but it appears that some is being proven in the lab. Along with the well known fact that heat training increases our blood plasma volume, we also see an increase in VO2max. Another study showed a very solid gain in muscle strength. For another positive result, consider your health. Lower blood pressure and artery stiffness as well as apparently a lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
All around, I wouldn’t say there are no negatives but I’d also say don’t shy away from the heat.
Healthy body, healthy brain
Do you know what else gives you a healthier brain and a lower risk of dementia? A healthy heart.
Sounds like another good reason to keep running, right? The more we learn, the more we find out new ways that cardiovascular health is good for far more than just your heart.
Using stress trackers
I’ve already written about using fitness trackers based on my experience with the new Garmin I got this year. Here’s another example of productive use of them.
From my own experience, my new Garmin does include a stress tracker and I’ve been able to use it to lower my stress and, I believe, recover a little better. I can use the stress tracking to see patterns in when my stress level is high or low and figure out what causes my stress to go up or down. Often, the results are just what you would expect. Sometimes, though, I find something surprising and I can act on that to lower my stress.
I also use my stress tracker to remind myself when my stress is high and to try to relax (breathe deeply for a minute, for example) when I would benefit from getting it down.