For the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on a two-part column series addressing acclimatizing to heat and humidity. You can find Part I at this link and Part II here.
The volume of information available on body temperature regulation, performance and all issues related is overwhelming. Boiling the information down into two columns was a challenge.
In my research review process, I found the information posted in the last blog, letting you know that there are gender differences in sweat rates.
Another interesting tidbit I wanted to share with you is from a University of Oregon research paper titled “Heat Acclimation Improves Exercise Performance”. The study was designed to examine the impact of heat acclimation on improving exercise performance in a cooler environment.
Twelve trained cyclists completed VO2max, time trial performance (I’m not sure of the time or distance) and lactate threshold tests in both a cool (13 C = 55 F) and hot (38 C = 100 F) environment both before and after a heat acclimatization program. Those results were compared to eight control subjects that completed the same tests before and after; but their exercise program (identical to the 12 subjects) was conducted in cool (13 C = 55 F) conditions.
You would likely expect the heat acclimatized group to improve in the hot conditions, compared to the control group – and they did. What you might not expect is that the heat acclimatized group improved performance in cool conditions after the heat acclimatization program.
While the control group had no changes in any of the test parameters in the second round of testing, the heat acclimatized group saw some impressive changes:
Time-trial performance by 6% in cool and by 8% in hot conditions.
Power output at lactate threshold by 5 % in cool and by 5 % in hot conditions.
Plasma volume increased (6.5 +/- 1.5%).
Maximal cardiac output in cool and hot conditions increased (9.1 +/- 3.4% and 4.5 +/- 4.6%, respectively).
Their conclusion was that heat acclimatization improves performance in temperate-cool conditions.