Beards are making a come-back these days, but did you know that they also serve to bolster the agility of the grower?
New research from the Follicle Analysis Collective of Tasmania (FACT), a collective of like minded scientists that collate and analyse scientific data pertaining to hair, shows that sporting a beard, moustache, goatee or side-burns actively improves a man’s balance.
“In a way similar to cat’s whiskers, having facial hair allows the Grower – we use the term Grower because it could be male or female – to receive extra-sensory data from the surroundings. Small deviations in air currents move the hairs which, in turn, trigger signals to the brain that are interpreted as a shift in the attitude of the head,” says Dr. Grace Potenza, “In layman’s terms, the hairs of a beard act as thousands of tiny fingers that ‘feel’ the air for movement. If the Grower moves to the left or right, for example, the sensation of that movement is more fine-tuned than a clean shaven person, or non-Grower.”
The find is of particular interest to the field of sports. A loose correlation between hair and sporting ability has already been established, with grants applied in a bid to formalise that finding. From the outset, it appears that those who sport a solid crop can expect an average of 15% better agility.
All manner of chin, lip and cheek hair will do but a light facial fuzz isn’t going to help much.
“We can see that any kind of solid facial hair, like a beard or a moustache or even sideburns or mutton chops, will help however the length of the hair must be sufficiently long, at least a centimeter exposure before we start to see any effects,” she says.
Dr. Potenza wishes to expand her studies to see if the Grower’s extra-sensory perception can aid in altered environments. Of particular interest is the apparent tolerance to alcohol, exhaustion and sleep deprivation. Another field is in low visibility environments like darkened rooms, fog and smoke.
“Who knows? We might find that as a recommendation all Fire-fighters be required to have a minimum beard length.”