Sports scientists from London say they've proved that running during the cooler winter months puts less strain on the body and can help athletes boost their performance. Matthew Stock has more.
BROADCAST AND DIGITAL RESTRICTIONS~*NONE* Broadcasters: NONE Digital: *NONE*~ As temperatures drop during the winter months, so too can the motivation to go for a run. But new research suggests it's actually the perfect time of year to maximise your performance. Sports scientists in London have demonstrated how running in the cold causes significantly less stress on the body. Inside an environmentally controlled chamber, they replicated British summer time temperatures of 22 degrees Celsius and the 8 degrees Celsius of winter. Test subjects ran 10 kilometres over 40 minutes in both warm and cool conditions. Heart rate was monitored throughout and blood lactate levels measured during short pauses. SOUNDBITE (English) JOHN BREWER, PROFESSOR OF APPLIED SPORT SCIENCE, ST. MARY'S UNIVERSITY LONDON, SAYING: "We were expecting, in all honesty, to see some differences, but not to the magnitude of difference that we saw given that we weren't using extreme conditions...heart rates were about 6 percent higher in the hotter conditions, we found that the runners dehydrated by around 30, 38 percent more in those hotter conditions. And they found it about 30 percent easier; the test of their thermal regulation, how they felt, their perception of heat was around a third lower when they were running in cold conditions." The study was commissioned ahead of February's Winter Run Series, taking place in London and Manchester. With temperatures then averaging a chilly 7 degrees Celsius -- a 10 k run could be the ideal time to beat that personal best. SOUNDBITE (English) JOHN BREWER, PROFESSOR OF APPLIED SPORT SCIENCE, ST. MARY'S UNIVERSITY LONDON, SAYING: "If you look at top-level sports, if you look at the likes of Mo Farah running 10k and winning world and Olympic championships; the difference between success and failure is seconds, and it's certainly not minutes. We can be very confident that in cooler conditions you can certainly slice a decent percentage of time off your personal best." While serious runners will be happy to lose a few seconds from their run time... many of us will be content to just lose that extra weight we picked up over Christmas.