Research on the physiological effects of apparel design that keeps muscles warm efficiently
When doing sports or exercising, have you experienced situations where your body cools down rapidly and warm-ups and recovery do not go smoothly? Mizuno has conducted research on the physiological effects of apparel design that warms up the major muscles, by focusing on the “temperature” of the muscles that play an important role in maintaining life activities.
Until now, the heat retention properties of apparel have been aimed at maintaining body temperature and enhancing comfort. This time, however, Mizuno analyzed the body’s mechanisms from the perspectives of improving physical performance in addition to comfort, as well as the possibility of creating apparel that contributes to recovery. Through our research, we found that a rise in muscle temperature activates cells, which could in turn lead to improvements in muscle performance and efficient recovery through muscle hypertrophy.
Improving muscle performance
Concerning the immediate effects of warming up superficial muscles on performance, Mizuno conducted joint research with Professor Katsumasa Goto of Toyohashi Sozo University (Toyohashi,Japan), a researcher who has long been studying the secondary effects of warming up muscles.
In the demonstration experiment conducted in this joint research, Mizuno’s proprietary moisture-absorbing and heat-generating fabric, Breath Thermo, was placed as an insulation material on large superficial muscles such as the biceps brachii, triceps brachii, and pectoralis major. The remaining parts of the upper limbs were then covered in fitted long-sleeved apparel made from fabric with excellent breathability and quick dry(apparel that keeps the muscles warm efficiently). Similarly, Breath Thermo was placed over the hamstrings and large superficial muscles of the lower limbs such as the quadriceps femoris and gastrocnemius muscles, while the remaining parts were covered in fitted long tights made, again, from breathable and quick dry fabric as above.
The results of this experiment suggested that wearing apparel that keeps the muscles warm efficiently on both the upper and lower limbs after exercise and training could have an immediate effect on performance, in terms of reaction time, motion time, and efficiency of motion. This mechanism not only improves the performance of athletes, but could also help to reduce the risk of declining physical function accompanying the loss of muscle strength and muscle mass for the elderly.
Efficient warming up and rest and recovery through muscle hypertrophy
Concerning the effects that suppressing the decrease in muscle temperature at rest during and after exercise has on muscle hypertrophy, Mizuno conducted joint research with Professor Yoshinari Uehara from the Faculty of Sports and Health Science, Fukuoka University (Fukuoka,Japan) and concurrently a doctor at Fukuoka University Hospital, who is engaged in research on sports medicine.
The results of the demonstration experiment confirmed that wearing apparel that keeps the major muscles warm during training is effective in keeping the muscles warm after training. Furthermore, it showed that continuous use of such apparel for several weeks increased the amount of IL-6 (interleukin 6), a blood component known as myokine that is related to the synthesis and repair of muscles, and increased muscle thickness. Accordingly, continuous use of apparel that keeps the muscles warm efficiently after training promotes muscle hypertrophy, and could enhance the efficiency of warm-ups and rest and recovery.
Apparel that keeps the muscles warm efficiently could be described as a new design that is effective not only for sporting activities, but also during rest. Going forward, Mizuno will conduct more in-depth research and tackle the challenge of developing apparel that can contribute to the competition performance of athletes as well as to maintaining health for general consumers.