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Odor Shown to Increase Athletic Performance and Reduce Pain

In a preliminary study of 24 men and women cyclists between the ages of 19 and 47, researchers found that participants who smelled a specially formulated ergogenic* fragrance experienced an increase in performance scores of endurance and leg speed and a reduced level of perceived pain than during exposure to a recognizable food odor or a pleasant neutral odor.

All test subjects were in good health and had normal olfactory ability, as measured by a preliminary medical assessment. Each subject completed a battery of pre and post-trial cognitive, physical and psychological assessments that included; speed, stamina and pain tolerance measurements; assessments of training frequency, personal goals, life satisfaction, etc.; and rating of body image, feelings of self esteem, confidence, etc.

The subjects participated in a rigorous 1-hour race simulation on stationary bicycles, followed by a two-day period to rest. During all phases of the blind testing, each participant was given a specially designed finger ring that had been infused with one of the particular scents. The subjects were instructed to inhale the scent prior to excursion and anytime they wanted throughout the trials. All subjects repeated the physical exercises under each odor condition over an eight-day period.

Research Findings

The findings showed that the special formulation most effected the participant's performance when there was a physical or mental goal to aim at. Increased cadence, longer duration of a sustained seated sprint, longer duration of a standing climb all showed measurable improvement.

Perceived power output was reported to be higher as was a feeling of increased stamina. A modest increase in pain tolerance due to lactic acid buildup was also noted.

Female subjects reported themselves feeling more positive about their body image and having an increased willingness to exert maximum effort even under the vigilance of the testing environment.

The study found the athletes more willing to accept instructions to push their physical limits under the special odorant condition. And both male and female participants reported feeling more satisfied with the results of the special odorant workout and happier overall afterward.

These findings suggest that the special scent creates a physiological effect that stimulates the nervous and circulatory systems; a chemical effect that triggers the release of dopamine, endorphins and other neurotransmitters; and a psychological effect that elicits behavioral changes in mood, motivation, desire, attention, satisfaction, etc.

The researchers are keeping the formulas for the special odor under wraps but did mention that the primary goal of the preliminary study, to identify a viable inhalable ergogenic, had been met and that further study is needed to refine the delivery mechanism.

* Definition: Ergogenic Aid

Any external influence which can positively affect physical or mental performance. These include pharmacological aids, physiological aids, nutritional aids, and psychological aids.

Ergogenic substances directly influence the physiological capacity of a particular body system thereby improving performance. They remove psychological constraints which impact performance. They increase the speed of recovery from training and competition. They eliminate fatigue symptoms and reduce pain.

 

 

 

 

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