Hot vs. Cold vs. Altitude: which environmental extreme is worse?

As part of our HB710 – Applied Environmental Physiology – Module which sits within our MSc in Applied Sport Physiology or Applied Exercise Physiology we ran a debate yesterday which we have run for the last few years on which environmental extreme is worse – heat, cold or altitude? The idea came from two BBC articles that posed the question of which environment was more challenging. It was a fun activity at the start of the module to help contextualise some of the problems that environmental extremes can bring and allow some of the students who are newer to environmental extremes to become acquainted with the subject and considerations. There is an underlying objective, which is to make the students think more about how they use research evidence, especially in graphical or tabular form to strengthen their arguments and rationales as this will help them later in the module’s assessment, but also stand them in good stead beyond their degree.

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Supporting Hampshire Scout Expeditions

The Sport and Exercise Science Consultancy Unit (SESCU) have started their initial support programme with Hampshire Scout Expeditions (HSX) in their attempt to ski to the South Pole then kite ski back, a total distance of 2,300km.

The team of scouts visited the Welkin Environmental Physiology Laboratory, where Ash Willmott and Dr Mark Hayes tested them for baseline health measures and cold response screening tests in -20°C. They also took a dip in the ice tank to replicate the conditions they may face during their challenge if the unthinkable was to happen!

The HSX challenge involves skiing 700 miles from Hercules Inlet at 80° South, to the South Pole in 60 days. On the return journey, the team will exploit the prevailing winds and kite-ski back the way they came in 20 days all while being completely unassisted.

The team is undertaking this to not only challenge themselves but to raise funds and awareness for the charity MND – Motor Neurone Disease.

Find out more about the HSX challenge.

Mount Everest Climber Visits University Laboratories

Bonita Norris, alongside Indus Films, visited the Sport and Exercise Science Consultancy Unit (SESCU) to film a promotional trailer for a new “Extreme Environments” documentary. The video was shot in the Welkin Laboratories as part of a pitch being made to Red Bull TV to commission the project.

Bonita reached the summit of Mount Everest in 2010 as a 22-year old. At the time, she was the youngest British woman to achieve the feat, and held the record until 2012.

Bonita was put through her paces in a range of extreme environments by SESCU’s environmental physiologist and PhD candidate, Ash Willmott, and SESCU manager Alex Bliss. The three environments simulated in the laboratories in Eastbourne ranged were -20 degrees Celsius, +45 degrees Celsius, and 5000m above sea level.

SESCU and Indus Films will look to provide support for Bonita as she prepares to encounter a range of extreme environments as part of the four-show series.

If you are interested in hearing about our “Extreme Environments” support packages then please email sesconsultancy@brighton.ac.uk