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Shining lights on the slopes

Germany – The German Ski Association and the lighting manufacturer Osram have drawn a positive summary of their first season as partners. In this alliance, the German Ski Association applied the latest findings about “biologically effective light” to tap the performance reserves of athletes. The energising effect of light was effectively used in particular for competitions held at night, overseas and in the Far East. “In world-class sport, we have reached a plateau where it is becoming increasingly difficult for athletes to reach an even higher level of performance. By applying knowledge about biologically effective light, we have been able to mobilise new energy reserves,” said Karlheinz Waibel, the national trainer for science and technology at the German Ski Association. Osram biologist Andreas Wojtysiak added: “We will systematically apply the knowledge we have gained in our partnership and develop new ways to boost the performance of world-class athletes.”

As a first step, Osram developed a special luminaire for use in individual training programmes. The luminaire especially helps athletes begin their day in a more active and focused manner. In the evening, the light enables them to more easily wind down and regenerate their bodies. In doing so, athletes can boost their performance during the day. A different type of luminaire was also designed with a similar goal in mind. It is used in particular to light common areas and rooms where team meetings are held. With their high luminous flux, this luminaire acts as a “shower of light” that has a positive effect on people especially in northern regions with extremely short days in winter. Used either as individual or group units, both systems help athletes reset their biological clocks when they travel to competition venues overseas or in the Far East. With the aid of this systematically employed light, athletes can much more quickly find a balanced sleep/wake cycle. The result: significantly fewer problems with jet lag. Athletes get used to the new time zone much faster and can reach normal performance and reaction levels more quickly following long, gruelling trips.

Experts have known for some years about the beneficial psychological and physiological benefits of light. But this knowledge has not been widely applied up to now. Against this backdrop, the German Ski Association and Osram announced their partnership on biologically effective light at the beginning of the winter season 2015/16. In this work, knowledge about light's effect on the human body is being systematically applied to improve the reaction, concentration and regeneration of athletes during the season and in the preparation phase.

16th March 2016

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