Paralympian Gordon Reid has been preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at University of the West of Scotland’s cutting-edge extreme environment laboratory.
The professional wheelchair tennis player and Paralympic gold medallist is hoping his time spent in UWS’s high-tech facility will give him a competitive edge as he begins his journey in Tokyo today.
Gordon used the facility, which is based inside the University’s award-winning, state-of-the-art Lanarkshire campus, over a two-week period to help him prepare for the extreme heat and humidity of a Japanese summer. He undertook exercises inside the chamber using an upper-body ergometer and was supported by UWS’s Chris Easton, Professor of Exercise Physiology and the Head of Sport and Exercise at UWS.
Discussing Gordon’s training regime and the benefits, Professor Chris Easton said: “Heat and humidity can be a real challenge for athletes and that’s what we focused on with Gordon’s training.
“Environments such as the one Gordon will face in Tokyo increases an athlete’s core heat and temperature, so we wanted to make sure that his body was able to acclimatise to exercising in those conditions before flying out to Japan. Fortunately, the extreme environment laboratory at UWS is able to replicate the exact same conditions Gordon will face over there.
“Over the two week period, monitoring things like sweat loss, heart rate and how Gordon generally felt while training in the chamber, we saw that he started to cope better and adapt to the conditions.
It was an absolute pleasure to work with Gordon during his preparations for the Games and we wish him all the very best in Tokyo.
Chris Easton, Professor of Exercise Physiology and the Head of Sport and Exercise at UWS
UWS’s environmental chamber is one of only two in Scotland and the only one in the West of Scotland. It replicates environmental extremes, from walking in the desert to standing on one of the world’s highest mountains, and can be used by athletes to improve physical performance in the run-up to large sporting events, such as the Games in Tokyo.
Since opening, the chamber has been used by quadruple amputee Corinne Hutton, as she prepared for her charity climb of Mount Kilimanjaro; Professional Boxer, Hannah Rankin; Motherwell Football Club; and the Scotland women’s national football team, as they prepared for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
Gordon shared his experience of using UWS’s facility on Twitter, saying: "Last session in the heat chamber completed.
A huge thanks to the legends at sportscotland and University of the West of Scotland for their help in preparing me for the extreme conditions in Tokyo over the past couple of weeks – world-class facilities just outside of Glasgow.
Gordon Reid, Paralympian
The chamber is an important asset for the University, enhancing students’ experiences and enabling UWS to forge research partnerships and collaborations within industry and academia. Businesses and the public are able to access the chamber and take part in altitude training sessions.
The chamber controls a number of variables to create extreme conditions, with temperature ranging from 10 to 40 degrees Celsius, altitude from zero to 5,000 metres above sea level, and humidity between 10 to 90 per cent.