Our ancestors 50 thousand years ago Africafrom north to Europe migration The gene mutation that occurs with it makes some of us more resistant to cold. At the same time, sudden strength in sports and energy It determines which branches that require endurance such as the marathon and which branches that require endurance can be advantageous.
Some professional athletes prefer to take ice baths after sports. Although exercising in the cold in the winter can revitalize the body, it is quite difficult for some.
Some of the swimming enthusiasts choose to swim in cold natural lakes instead of swimming in the heated pool.
On the mental health benefits of swimming in cold water the newsAlthough e is common in the media, there is not much data on this.
So why is swimming in cold water so popular, and are some people really more resistant to cold?
Cold weather affects performance. In the cold, the muscles slow down, it takes longer to contract, thus reducing our power to act and create energy (this can be remedied by warming up before we act).
In addition to genetics, resistance to cold also depends on the thickness of the subcutaneous fat layer and the size of the body. According to some theories, when our body cools, the rate of energy release of muscle cells decreases.
There are data showing that exercising in the cold improves heart health, strengthens immunity and provides weight loss by converting white fat cells into brown fat cells. So, exercising in the cold can have benefits when done safely.
Alpha-actinin-3 protein: “Htrace gene “
The alpha-actin-3 protein in the fibers of our muscles is also called the “speed gene” and allows the muscles to rest in a shorter time after the sudden energy creation and performance.
However, one out of every five people does not have this protein.
All the muscles in our body are made up of two types of fibers: slow twitch muscle fibers and fast twitch muscle fibers. Their ratio varies from muscle to muscle and from person to person.
Slow twitch muscle fibers ensure aerobic slow movements, an upright posture of the body and head, and a closed jaw. We make use of these muscles in exercises such as walking and running.
If all muscles are relaxed during yoga or meditation, we can understand how many muscles are activated unconsciously. This is not an abnormal “tension” in the muscles involved; It is the muscle tension, which is a normal function of the body, known as “tonus” in medicine, that is, the body stays intact thanks to the slow twitching muscle fibers.
Fast twitch muscle fibers, on the other hand, work without oxygen, fast contraction, but quick fatigue. They are engaged in sudden movements such as lifting, jumping, jumping.
Alpha-actinin-3 protein is found only in these fast twitch muscle fibers.
Experts state that 80 percent of the muscles in the body of athletes (American football, hockey players) that require strength consist of fast twitch muscle fibers, and 80 percent of the muscles of athletes that require endurance (marathon runners) are slow twitch muscles.
While the former move with more power and speed and get tired in a shorter time, the latter are more resistant to fatigue and can conserve energy for a long time by burning less energy per unit time.
What determines the types of muscle fibers?
Athletes with 80-20 percent muscle composition are quite lucky. For most people, this rate is around 50-50 and this rate is determined from birth.
It is the nervous system that determines the types of muscle fibers. For this reason, it is not possible to make a change with exercise.
To better understand this chicken example can be given. The slow twitch muscle fibers in the chicken leg are darker, as they are denser and contain myoglobin protein. Myoglobin is a protein that binds to oxygen and is transported to the muscles by respiration and gives a brownish color due to its iron content. The red liquid that flows when you cut the steak is not blood, but myoglobin.
Chicken breast, on the other hand, contains less myoglobin because it consists of fast twitching muscle fibers and is white in color. The chest muscles of the chicken are engaged in short and sudden movements such as flapping wings, whereas the leg muscle is in use for a longer period of time.
However, in humans, this difference is less pronounced. Because all our muscles are made up of the combination of these two fiber types in different proportions.
Ways to warm the body
These fibers also play an important role in keeping the body warm. In the cold, fast twitch muscle fibers contract repeatedly and rapidly; This is the reason for the cold shivering. This is an energy-intensive movement and is effective in keeping the body warm.
One of the most effective ways to warm up the body is muscle contraction. 70-80 percent of the calories burned during exercise generates heat.
Slow twitch muscle fibers, on the other hand, are less intense but in a continuous state of functioning and provide effective heat generation.
Approximately 1.5 billion people in the world population do not have any alpha-actinin-3 protein. Although they have fast twitch muscle fibers, their muscles are generally concentrated with slow twitch fibers, so they do not succeed in sports that require strength and rapid bursts of energy, but in sports that require endurance and more efficient energy use.
Due to a mutation in the gene for the alpha-actinin-3 protein, this protein was lost in our ancestors who migrated from Africa to Europe 50,000 years ago.
Perhaps thanks to this mutation, people who migrated to Europe have become more resistant to cold climates, as they preserve their body temperature by creating effective heat through the less dense and continuous functioning of slow twitch muscle fibers, rather than through the energy-consuming shivering.
This genotype is less common in people living in hot climates. Around 1 percent in Kenya and Nigeria, 11 percent in Ethiopia, and 25 percent in Asians.
People who do not have alpha-actin-3 protein are more effective in maintaining body temperature and energy, as well as more resistant to cold climates.
White oil, brown oil
Another important genetic factor in terms of resistance to cold is the ratio of fat in the body.
Just as there are two types of muscle fibers in our bodies, there are two types of fat: white fat and brown fat.
Brown fat, like slow twitch muscle fibers, warms the body without the need for shaking. When we are exposed to cold, brown fat comes into play, which can lead to weight loss. Studies need to be conducted to use it to treat obesity, says Kristin Stanford of Ohio State University.
During exercise, this mechanism is disabled, perhaps because different mechanisms come into play to warm the body; however, researchers say it is too early to draw firm conclusions.
According to Courtenay Dunn-Lewis of the University of Pitsburgh, if cold weather inhibits brown fat burning and Sport The body can warm itself through good warm-up movements before exercise, even if it negatively affects performance. In other words, cold weather should not be a reason for not exercising.
“In fact, the cold season is the best marathon period. Because the cold provides better dissipation of heat generated during exercise. Without the cold, the body should have reduced its resources from muscle performance to heat dissipation,” says Lewis.
However, not all good athletes perform well in the cold. In some, cold weather asthma can occur, affecting 35 percent of athletes this winter Olympics. In cold weather, water vapor contains less moisture than it is frozen in the air, and dry air causes inflammation in the lungs and obstruction of the bronchi.
In short, there are genetic reasons why some people are more resistant to cold.