Physical conditioning is one of the aspects you should focus on when you are planning to compete for a biathlon. More than accuracy when using the best air rifle to shoot a target at a required kilometer range, one must be able to physically stand strenuous activities in extreme weather conditions.
People from sunny, warm states who compete in a biathlon usually have difficulties adjusting to immense low temperature, especially in locations where thermal readings drop below zero. Most often than not, this reason hinders some to compete in the said event. Freezing temperature has certain effects on the human body. You must be well conditioned prior and during a biathlon competition.
Effects of Extreme Cold Climate on the Body
- Alters Metabolism
Have you noticed how you shiver when the weather is cold? That’s your body trying to warm up in order to compensate with the low temperature. In cold climate, there is a significant increase in metabolism due to the increase demand in energy level. If you are not physically fit or properly conditioned, there is a tendency for fatigability or body malaise.
- Muscle Stiffness
Compared to other sports, athletes participating in biathlon should set their body to a higher level of functioning. Cold climate has a way of inflicting sudden muscle discomfort, especially if they have existing joint conditions. The muscles tend to stiff, losing their flexibility. This can lead to injury and fatal accidents.
- Decrease Agility
Athletes who are not well conditioned for the event can lose their agility freezing climate. Even though a competitor is proficient in shooting and has a high end rifle from Air Rifle Pro, it won’t do him any good if he shivers in the midst of aiming and shooting. Getting used to the climate is immensely important to avoid this situation.
- Decrease Oxygen Consumption
High altitude has low oxygen levels leading to breathlessness. When this happens, the vital organs of the body are unable to function well. Without allowing the body to adapt to this kind of circumstances, there is a high probability of system failure. Thus, it is a requirement to train the body at all cost so that it can easily adjust to extreme temperature.
So what is the Best Conditioning? Running!
- Running Conditions the Heart
You always hear that running is good for the heart – that is so true. By making the heart pump at its maximum rate, it enables to develop and strengthen the myocardial muscle. Due to this, the muscle is conditioned to tolerate extreme activities and physical stress that you will be facing during a biathlon competition. Compared to any cardiovascular exercises, running still proves to be the best work out of the heart.
- Running Conditions the Lungs
I hope you are aware of the significant role of the lungs in oxygenating the whole body. Thus, it is very important to condition these organs. Running does not only enhance the lungs elasticity and capacity, it also regulates your breathing pattern. Proper conditioning of the lungs helps you to easily adjust your breathing and respiratory function in high altitudes where the air has low levels of oxygen.
- Running Conditions the Muscle
When you are running, your muscles are being worked out. This is essential when you need to develop certain muscle group so you can ski faster and efficiently. Running conditions the muscles to prevent stiffening in cold climate and it also strengthens the muscle to endure the strenuous physical activity you are about to tackle.
- Running Conditions the Bones
With every step when you are running there is a high impact that confronts the bones. This stimulates the development of healthy bone mass, which is much needed when you are serious about joining a biathlon.
- Running Conditions the Metabolism
Metabolism and energy expenditure are related. Whenever you cover longer distances when you are running, your metabolism increases. This is the reason why people who engage in this type of activity are able to lose or maintain a healthy weight. It is the same reason how the body conditions itself for proper utilization for energy.
- Running Conditions the Mind
Running does not only condition the body physically, but mentally as well. According to research, running aids in the creation of new neuron connections in the brain and also stimulates growth of new cells. This leads to better mental function, which also needed in competing in biathlon.
- Running Conditions the Emotions
I am sure that you heard that running has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. It combats depression and improves confidence. Whenever you are running, the body releases endorphins, which is also known as the happy hormone. In any sports or competition, being calm and stress free allows focus, enhances the proper body functioning and emotional stability.
This is just a short list why running is still the best physical conditioning before joining a biathlon or any sports for that matter. With all the benefits you can enjoy form running, this should be a regular thing that you should do with or without a competition. Good luck with your training.