Professor Travels “Down Under” for Football Training

Human physiology Professor Chris Minson travelled to Australia in his latest application of heat training, signing on as a consultant with an Australian rules football club.

Minson traveled to Cairns in far north Queensland, Australia, with the Richmond Football Club. Cairns is known for its hot, humid weather, and is nearly 3,000 kilometers north – toward the equator – of Richmond, a suburb of Melbourne. “A number of games (the Richmond Tigers) will be playing will be in the heat, and there are clear benefits of heat acclimation on performance in the heat," Minson said in a video interview on the football club's website. "And because they’re going to be playing in those kind of conditions, getting some training in those conditions is ideal for them.”

Minson addressed the players on the first night of their training camp and explained how heat training can improve their performance. He also observed training sessions to help the team identify appropriate levels of heat training. “Absolutely, it will help them in the season," Minson told the Tigers' website.

“And, our research has shown some real benefits from heat acclimation even in cooler weather performance … that's one of the unique aspects we’re trying to bring to the camp.”

The Richmond Football Club tried high altitude training in recent years, but Minson said he believes the current heat training regimen will be more beneficial. “Because you guys don’t ever play in high altitude, the focus here is more on heat," Minson told the team website. “If they were going to high altitude, you’d want to have a component of that. But, in consultation with the team, the heat acclimation seems to be a more profound and longer-lasting benefit.” Minson called Australian Football "a very fast-moving game" and said he was "very impressed with the players and the fitness level they’re able to obtain."

Minson joined the UO faculty in 2000 after a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Mayo Clinic. His research focuses on human cardiovascular physiology, and he studies neural and vascular interactions and adaptations during thermoregulatory challenges. He also studies how natural and synthetic forms of estrogen and progesterone impact cardiovascular health and blood pressure regulation in women. His teachings are in the areas of cardiovascular and environmental physiology. Minson earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Arizona and a master's degree and doctorate in exercise science, respectively, from San Diego State University and Pennsylvania State University.

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