Pushing Your Body To The Limit By Inducing Stress In High Heat Or Intense Cold Situations


Getting the most out of your health routine doesn’t have to be costly or hard to understand. Yet so many of us struggle with managing our diet, keeping to a consistent workout routine, or even just getting enough sleep. Which is why I will admit that when it comes to my own fitness regime I am all about pushing myself hard for the ultimate efficiency, so even if I miss a workout occasionally, I don’t quickly digress. How do I do this? I no longer shy away from extreme weather conditions! 

The Effect of Physical Distress On The Body 

We already know that both cold and heat can help with regenerating tissue and muscle following exercise. That's why you see athletes plunging themselves into torturous ice baths after a game or intense workout. It speeds up their muscles ability to recover so they can continue pushing their bodies hard day after day. But what about during exercise? Will subjecting our bodies to extreme temperatures (hot and cold) have an effect on their performance? It has long been theorized that there is a potential benefit to putting the body under stress using heat and cold. After testing this theory myself, I am now a personal believer in this concept. 

Admittedly this is anecdotal, yet I have found my personal experiences with working out in extreme temperatures to be more effective than in moderate ones. Not long ago, I intentionally avoided running mid day during the summer months and would start my runs before the sun came up. I felt like the heat bogged me down and spoiled my performance. Really, all it was doing was making me uncomfortable. Permitting I stay adequately hydrated, I was perfectly capable of performing in the heat - as long as I didn't succumb to my discomfort. Now having trained through the summer months in the heat, I'm performing better in moderate and cold temperatures with quicker running times and faster recoveries

The Evidence Supporting This Theory Is Out There 

Dr. Rhonda Patrick gave a fascinating talk at the 2017 Biohacker Summit about the topic. 

According to her research, when our bodies are active in extreme temperatures they will begin a series of functions to compensate. 

When in extreme cold, our cells release norepinephrine in concentrations of up to 300%. This chemical has a number of functions, from alleviating pain and inflammation, to improving mood and and focus. Because it also activates thermogenesis, which acts as a way to fight off cold, there is less risk of being overtaken by the temperature. 

As for heat, Dr. Patrick believes that “heat shock proteins” could be the key to improved athletic ability and longevity. So don't be afraid to pound the pavement during the midday heat of summer. Hop off your AC controlled treadmill and head outside. Push yourself when your brain tells you to stop and see what your body is capable of. As the seasons change, throw on some ear muffs and go outside. Training in temperatures outside of our comfort zone will add to our athletic ability as well as our body's ability to adapt and push forward during unfavorable circumstances. 

Kevin Jones is a full time professional fitness expert. When he isn’t in the gym, he is offering practical research, fitness plans and nutritional tips to the world. Kevin regularly contributes to many fitness and health authority websites. With a passion for family, fun, and fitness, Kevin has found a way to manage and combine these three aspects in an effective and successful way. Connect with him online; LinkedIn & Twitter​.


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