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Physiol Meas. 2014 Feb;35(2):189-203. doi: 10.1088/0967-3334/35/2/189. Epub 2014 Jan 7.

Measuring skin temperature before, during and after exercise: a comparison of thermocouples and infrared thermography.

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Department of Physical Education, Human Performance Laboratory, Federal University of Viçosa, Viçosa, Brazil. Federal Institute for Education, Sciences and Technology of Minas Gerais, Bambuí, Brazil.


Measuring skin temperature (TSK) provides important information about the complex thermal control system and could be interesting when carrying out studies about thermoregulation. The most common method to record TSK involves thermocouples at specific locations; however, the use of infrared thermal imaging (IRT) has increased. The two methods use different physical processes to measure TSK, and each has advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, the objective of this study was to compare the mean skin temperature (MTSK) measurements using thermocouples and IRT in three different situations: pre-exercise, exercise and post-exercise. Analysis of the residual scores in Bland-Altman plots showed poor agreement between the MTSK obtained using thermocouples and those using IRT. The averaged error was -0.75 °C during pre-exercise, 1.22 °C during exercise and -1.16 °C during post-exercise, and the reliability between the methods was low in the pre- (ICC = 0.75 [0.12 to 0.93]), during (ICC = 0.49 [-0.80 to 0.85]) and post-exercise (ICC = 0.35 [-1.22 to 0.81] conditions. Thus, there is poor correlation between the values of MTSK measured by thermocouples and IRT pre-exercise, exercise and post-exercise, and low reliability between the two forms of measurement.

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