Research

(R)Evolutionary Endurance

The Art of Flow

Achieving and maintaining flow is precarious My most intense experience of flow was during my penultimate freedive to the bottom of a 30-metre tank. There was only now. In fact there was no then, or no future, only what is. I approached the bottom of the tank, 30 metres down, without a sense of urgency,…
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Own the Challenge, Own Your Performance

Tools used in high-performance sports that deliver success in life Much of our life is found in challenging environments. All of us will find, at times, that we are losing control, or perspective, whether in work, education, or even relationships. There are however some key mental strategies, underpinned by hard science, that can be implemented to…
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The Body Has Evolved To Run, So Why Not The Brain?

2 million years to run an ultra-marathon Our hunter-gatherer ancestors were, in effect, on a camping trip that lasted a lifetime, and they had to solve many different kinds of problems well to survive and reproduce under those conditions […] — Cosmides and Tooby, 2013 Chris McDougall’s epic book “Born to Run” has been an inspiration…
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“Our Hunter-gatherer Ancestors Were, In Effect, On A Camping Trip That Lasted A Lifetime”

Has the brain evolved to run? Our hunter-gatherer ancestors were, in effect, on a camping trip that lasted a lifetime, and they had to solve many different kinds of problems well to survive and reproduce under those conditions […]— Cosmides and Tooby, 2013 Chris McDougall’s epic book “Born to Run” has been an inspiration to many runners…
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Is our psychology adapted for endurance?

According to evolutionary psychologists, at birth the human mind is neither a blank slate, nor a general-purpose computer, but is instead a set of highly specific, and evolved adaptive programmes (Cosmides & Tooby, 2013). Each mechanism within the brain has been shaped through natural, and sexual, selection, to solve the problems encountered within the environment…
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Are we truly born to run?

Based on evidence from evolutionary biology, physiology, and anthropology, it has been hypothesised that endurance running historically is important in the pursuit of prey, with key physiological adaptions evolving over millions of years to benefit long distance running, from early hominins through to modern homo sapiens (Brooks, 2012; Hawley, Hargreaves,  Joyner, & Zierath, 2014; Schulkin, 2016).…
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How do we adapt to extremes environments?

In the long evolutionary history of homo sapiens, we have faced and even embraced many difficult environments. Our success as a species is most likely to be a result of going beyond mere survival in challenging conditions and instead performing well as a result of 1) multiple short term physiological responses and behavioural changes, and…
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Can our personality impact sporting success?

Personality is a collection of psychological qualities that contribute to an individual’s lasting way of behaving, thinking, and feeling, and according to research, impacts the behaviour of competitive athletes. An improved understanding of personality traits may assist athletes to achieve their optimum performance. Breaking down personality Analysis of human language has identifed five basic personality…
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Can physical training impact our mental toughness?

We are all aware of the importance of mental toughness, or resilience, in coping with stressors in sport and driving optimum physical performance. But, what if it also works the other way round – can physiological factors drive our mental state, and can we use this to our benefit? Research suggests that physiological stressors can…
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What is the ‘Self-Determination Theory’?

Self Determination Theory The Self-determination Theory (SDT) is a theory of human motivation based on our inherent tendency towards growth and is rooted in the knowledge that we are evolved, complex organisms. Check out the earlier post on motivation for some background. Humans have evolved to be curious and social beings, driven to realise our…
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