Headphones That Can Make You a Better Athlete?

Headphones That Can Make You a Better Athlete?

What’s new in the world of wearable tech?

There’s always something.

This just in, according to a report in Outside magazine: A pair of headphones that claim to make wearers better athletes, thanks to transcranial direct-current stimulation, or the emission of a mild electric current.

The company behind the headphones, which are called Halo Sport, say they’re “neurotechnology for athletes.” It’s based on similar science employed by the U.S. military and in medical settings to treat certain health conditions.

halo-headphones-wearable-tech

Outside explains:

“… the Halo Sport employs transcranial direct-current stimulation, a technology already used to treat chronic pain, depression, and Parkinson’s disease. Yes, the headphones play music, but they also put out gentle current for 20 minutes during a warm-up session. That primes the motor cortex, Halo claims, by helping your neurons fire faster so you learn movements more quickly, your muscles get more efficient, and your brain experiences less fatigue.

‘Let’s say I’m struggling to do a pull-up,” [neuroscientist and company CEO] Danial Chao says, ‘so you give me ten pounds of assistance. If doing a pull-up is a neuron firing, we are that ten pounds of help that makes it just a little easier.’”

The case studies so far have been impressive. The company has worked with NFL athletes, elite CrossFitters and Olympic ski jumpers to see if the promise of improved performance rang true.  CrossFitters snatched 5 percent more weight after two weeks of carefully monitored use. Football and soccer players gained 12 percent more explosiveness after four weeks. And ski jumpers exerted 31 percent more propulsive force after four weeks.

That said, there might be downsides to improving cognitive performance in one area — you could be neglecting another area of the brain, Outside notes.

More investigation on the technology is needed. But will this kind of training optimization ever become commonplace for a weekend warrior looking to PR the 5K? Only time will tell. In the meantime, interested athletes can buy the Halo Sport online for $649 a pop, which seems a bit pricey, but the benefits seem worth it for athletes trying to increase performance!

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