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J Sports Sci. 2002 Jul;20(7):519-27.

Thermoregulatory responses during prolonged upper-body exercise in cool and warm conditions.

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School of Science and the Environment, Coventry University, UK.


The thermoregulatory responses of upper-body trained athletes were examined at rest, during prolonged arm crank exercise and recovery in cool (21.5 +/- 0.9 degrees C, 43.9 +/- 10.1% relative humidity; mean +/- s) and warm (31.5 +/- 0.6 degrees C, 48.9 +/- 8.4% relative humidity) conditions. Aural temperature increased from rest by 0.7 +/- 0.7 degrees C (P< 0.05) during exercise in cool conditions and by 1.6 +/- 0.7 degrees C during exercise in warm conditions (P< 0.05). During exercise in cool conditions, calf skin temperature decreased (1.5 +/- 1.3 degrees C), whereas an increase was observed during exercise in warm conditions (3.0 +/- 1.7 degrees C). Lower-body skin temperatures tended to increase by greater amounts than upper-body skin temperatures during exercise in warm conditions. No differences were observed in blood lactate, heart rate or respiratory exchange ratio responses between conditions. Perceived exertion at 45 min of exercise was greater than that reported at 5 min of exercise during the cool trial (P< 0.05), whereas during exercise in the warm trial the rating of perceived exertion increased from initial values by 30 min (P < 0.05). Heat storage, body mass losses and fluid consumption were greater during exercise in warm conditions (7.06 +/- 2.25 J x g(-1) x degrees C(-1), 1.3 +/- 0.5 kg and 1,038 +/- 356 ml, respectively) than in cool conditions (1.35 +/- 0.23 J x g(-1) x degrees C(-1), 0.8 +/- 0.2 kg and 530 +/- 284 ml, respectively; P < 0.05). The results of this study indicate that the increasing thermal strain with constant thermal stress in warm conditions is due to heat storage within the lower body. These results may aid in understanding thermoregulatory control mechanisms of populations with a thermoregulatory dysfunction, such as those with spinal cord injuries.

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