Well, as it transpires, not a great deal for your muscle mass but a lot more for your spirits. Embrace the literal interpretation of “train dirty” and you have on your hands a potent mood-booster. Researchers at the University of Bristol found that exposure to soil bacteria has an effect on the immune system that can lift your mood as effectively as antidepressants.
In particular, m.vaccae (mud bugs to you and us) are thought to spark changes in immune cells that improve messaging between the body and brain, increasing energy and motivation.
If, however, you’re a stick-in-the-mud about such unlikely uppers, you might want to know that separate research from Sage Colleges in New York, confirmed the same bacteria also curb anxiety in mice. In their studies, rodents exposed to m.vaccae navigated a maze twice as fast as a control group, with the brain- sharpening effects lasting for days afterwards.
Those who are keen to bury their risk of depression and unearth fresh focus should consider getting down and dirty at an adventure race ASAP. Keep an eye on the Tough Mudder race schedule, get yourself booked, and thank us later.