New sci­en­tific stud­ies of­fer in­sight into what you wear

Trail Running (UK) - - Contents - Words Paul Hal­ford

Why cor­rect cloth­ing counts and doc­tors should be pre­scrib­ing parkrun to pa­tients

Tight fit

They might not be ev­ery­one’s go-to fash­ion item, but it seems lower-leg com­pres­sion sleeves may im­prove per­for­mance. Sci­en­tists at Jena Uni­ver­sity Hospi­tal put 22 ac­tive men on the tread­mill at four dif­fer­ent speeds and found the sleeves re­duced mus­cle ac­tiv­ity and de­creased en­ergy cost be­tween 4-16%. The big­gest ad­van­tage was found at 2.8m/s (about 9min 40sec/ mile pace).

Pad­ding prob­lems

Min­i­mal­ist ‘bare­foot’ san­dals have be­come com­mon in re­cent years, mim­ick­ing the tra­di­tional shoes made by the Mex­i­can ul­trarun­ning tribe Tarahu­mara. How­ever, sci­en­tists at Har­vard found they could dou­ble the stress on your bones ver­sus run­ning bare­foot, be­cause the pro­tec­tion they pro­vide en­cour­ages you to put more weight on your feet.

Max­ing it out

‘Max­i­mal’ run­ning shoes that pro­vide up to around 33mm of stack height in the heel and fore­foot have been pop­u­lar since 2010 – the claim be­ing that they pro­vide more cush­ion­ing and re­duce in­jury. How­ever, early-stage re­search look­ing at the im­pacts on fe­male run­ners’ legs af­ter a 5k time trial sug­gests they ac­tu­ally may in­crease load­ing rate, rais­ing the like­li­hood of in­jury.

Wearable tech

Loads of de­vices are now avail­able to as­sess your well­be­ing and ac­tiv­ity, but a re­cent ar­ti­cle pub­lished by Pioneers in Phys­i­ol­ogy ques­tions their ac­cu­racy. De­vices de­signed to de­tect sleep, for ex­am­ple, were found by the Cen­ter for Health Sci­ences in Cal­i­for­nia to un­der­es­ti­mate deep sleep by about 20 min­utes and over­es­ti­mate REM sleep by 17 min­utes.

Cool­ing cloth­ing

Sci­en­tists re­cently tested three bodymap­ping de­signs and one con­ven­tional top on some­one run­ning at 12km/h for 40 min­utes, fol­lowed by 10 min­utes rest­ing. They found a bodymapped T-shirt re­duced the in­crease in chest, shoul­der and back tem­per­a­ture by 47%, 44% and 55% re­spec­tively. In­crease in heart rate was re­duced by 5.1%.

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