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Surprising things that can affect your workout

Jane Davids

Most of us have had a bad workout day, even despite having seemingly done all the right things, such as had a good rest, eaten the right foods, stayed hydrated, etc. But there are some much smaller less obvious variables that can actually have quite a big impact on our workout performance. This article will look at some of the less common factors that can affect your workout.

Air Quality

If you enjoy running outside, then it is possible that air quality could be slowing you down. A study conducted by Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering showed that higher levels of air pollution resulted in slower finishing times when running a marathon, particularly amongst women.

Generosity levels

Believe it or not, if you are a generous person that regularly does good deeds, this can help motivate you and drive you harder during a workout. A Harvard University study gave participants a dollar and the option to donate it or keep it for themselves. Afterward, they were asked to hold up a five-pound weight for as long as possible, those that had donated were able to hold up the weight for up to 10 seconds longer.

Choosing the right clothing

This one is a little less surprising than the previous two examples, but it can have a surprisingly big impact on your workout performance. For example, compression clothing helps to improve circulation by pressing down on the soft tissues in your arms and legs, which allows blood and oxygen to travel around your body more quickly giving your muscles more power. 

The clothes fabric is important too. Some fabrics are designed to pull sweat away from your body while you workout and help it to evaporate more quickly, keeping your body cool, fabrics that contain polypropylene are a good choice in this regard. Cotton clothing, however, will absorb the sweat, which is why you might find that a cotton shirt feels wet and heavy during and after a workout. While cotton is still a better choice than fabrics that don’t breathe such as plastic or rubber-based materials which are a big no-no, opting for clothes with polypropylene in is your best bet.

Sun exposure

Vitamin D is essential to health, and it can be particularly beneficial to get your daily dose if you are an athlete. Even just 5 minutes of sun exposure a few times a week is enough to aid your performance by making you stronger, faster and helping to improve your timing and balance. 

The city you live in

People are much more likely to be motivated to stay fit and active if they are living in a city that creates the right opportunities for people to live a healthy lifestyle. The right metropolitan surroundings will put someone at a fitness advantage due to factors such as a high availability of parks and trails, which invite sports and outdoor activities as well as help promote an outdoor lifestyle, if there are farmers markets and healthy food outlets rather than too many fast food options, and the availability of healthcare providers makes a difference also.


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