It’s been a brutal summer in Australia this year, record temperatures and high humidity spread across most of the country has made it uncomfortable for runners of all ages and ability levels. But how hard are these so called brutal conditions?
For most people they wake up and the air conditioning has the room set to 21C, taking out all the energy sapping humidity. From there we go to the climate controlled car for the commute to work at 21C and minimal humidity. In the office for the day at, you guessed it 21C and low humidity. And then repeat the car to home journey in the creature comforts of an air conditioned 21C and low humidity. Is the Australian summer really that brutal?
Today I asked a colleague today what he was doing on the weekend. Baring in mind we live in an idyllic area of Australia near pristine beaches and waterways, a holiday destination for people from all over the country and world. He said “It’ll be too hot this weekend, so we will probably have some air con days.” WTF is an air con day and when did these things start to exist? So not taking the family to the beach or the lake nearby? Yup, it’s too hot. If that’s your attitude it’s going to make it hard to get your Sunday long run in.
If we rarely step out of the comfort zone of 21C how do we expect to be ready to perform when the air conditioner isn’t available. It’s not a new phenomenon that being out of comfort zone and seeking hard challenges leads to growth. There’s endless amounts of books and research articles available to point this out.
To my knowledge back in our hunter gatherer days there wasn’t air conditioning to rely on to keep the cave at a comfortable 21C and low humidity. They had fire to keep them warm in winter and the blowing breeze to keep them cool in summer. They also had to go and run (barefoot) for a good percentage of their waking hours to catch or gather food for the family, while the rest of the family waited in the gruelling conditions without air conditioning hoping that food was available for the day.
Today, as a society we are pretty weak, and it shows on the health statistics around the western world. perhaps it’s our food systems, or our sedentary work lives, or our technology making life too easy. perhaps it’s air conditioning. And the fact that when the weather gets hotter then deemed comfortable we seek shelter from the outdoors for an “air con day.”
Perhaps this is also why people who want more for themselves than weekends of “air con days” are seeking adventures. Running events of all distances are selling out quicker than ever. The rise of ultramarathons continues to grow with no signs of a peak in sight. There is a growing industry for breath work and people challenging themselves spiritually or the phenomena of the cold exposure. You see, there is more to life than 21C and low humidity. That’s called comfortable, and the human being needs discomfort and should be craving discomfort for the benefit of personal growth both physical and mental.
Want to solve the obesity epidemic – Turn off air conditioning
Want to solve the mental health epidemic – Turn off air conditioning
Want to solve your addiction to technology – Turn off air conditioning.
By turn off air conditioning I mean. Turn off air conditioning and go and challenge yourself.
Go for a run, lift some weights, set some goals, enter a marathon or an ocean swim or an obstacle course race. Or put a hat on and go for a walk in nature or a swim in the ocean or local waterway. When you get home have a cold shower and see how good you feel.
Ok….I’ve answered my own question. The air conditioner is making us soft.
It’s time to make a deal with yourself. No more “Air Con Days”