YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Researchers at the University of Georgia released a new study that may help runners improve their time by doing something as simple as gargling a mouthwash.
The study found in the International Journal of Sports and Physiology and Performance shows that runners who swished a sugary drink, such as mouthwash, but did not ingest the solution during their run improved their time by as much as 5 percent.
In the experiment, scientists had endurance runners swish and spit out the solution several times during a nearly 8 mile run. They believe the taste triggers reward zones in the brain that are related to motor control.
YSU track team athlete Alan Burns said he hasn’t tried this one yet but is always looking for a boost in performance. He explained that 5 percent can make a big difference in a runner’s time, and certainly can be the difference between winning and losing.
“It’s kind of an easy solution to something that can help you get faster and for us at the D-1 level, we are looking at anything to try and get and edge and get quicker because every second counts in our races,” Burns said.
The key to this study is that they worked with a sucrose solution, also known as table sugar. Sugar substitutes do not provide the same performance-boosting results.
YSU Assistant Track Coach Ashley Smith said being the best runner you can be takes mental and physical training, but there are other aspects of it as well.
“Everyone has to seek out what is best for them and sometimes that may be a little trick,” Smith said.
The YSU track team is the Horizon League Indoor Track and Field Championships this weekend and some of the runners said they might consider giving the mouthwash trick a try.