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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 Mar;41(3):588-96. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31818c97a9.

Heat balance and cumulative heat storage during intermittent bouts of exercise.

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Laboratory of Human Bioenergetics and Environmental Physiology, School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.



The aim of this study was to investigate heat balance during thermal transients caused by successive exercise bouts. Whole-body heat loss (H x L) and changes in body heat content (Delta Hb) were measured using simultaneous direct whole-body and indirect calorimetry.


Ten participants performed three successive bouts of 30-min cycling (Ex1, Ex2, and Ex3) at a constant rate of heat production of approximately 500 W, each separated by 15-min rest (R1, R2, and R3) at 30 degrees C.


Despite identical rates of heat production during exercise, the time constant (tau) of the exponential increase in H x L was greater in Ex1 (tau = 12.3 +/- 2.3 min) relative to both Ex2 (tau = 7.2 +/- 1.6 min) and Ex3 (tau = 7.1 +/- 1.6 min) (P < 0.05). Delta Hb during Ex1 (256 +/- 76 kJ) was greater than during Ex2 (135 +/- 60 kJ) and Ex3 (124 +/- 78 kJ) (P < 0.05). During recovery bouts, heat production was the same, and the tau of the exponential decrease in H L was the same during R1 (tau = 6.5 +/- 1.1 min), R2 (tau = 5.9 +/- 1.3 min), and R3 (tau = 6.0 +/- 1.2 min). Delta Hb during R1 (-82 +/- 48 kJ), R2 (-91 +/- 48 kJ), and R3 (-88 +/- 54 kJ) were the same. The cumulative Delta Hb was consequently greater at the end of Ex2 and Ex3 relative to the end of Ex1 (P < 0.05). Likewise, cumulative Delta Hb was greater at the end of R2 and R3 relative to R1 (P < 0.05).


The proportional decrease in the amount of heat stored in the successive exercise bouts is the result of an enhanced rate of heat dissipation during exercise and not due to a higher rate of heat loss in the recovery period. Despite a greater thermal drive with repeated exercise, the decline in the rate of total heat loss during successive recovery bouts was the same.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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