Whole-body pre-cooling and heat storage during self-paced cycling performance in warm humid conditions

J Sports Sci. 1999 Dec;17(12):937-44. doi: 10.1080/026404199365326.


The aim of this study was to establish the effect that pre-cooling the skin without a concomitant reduction in core temperature has on subsequent self-paced cycling performance under warm humid (31 degrees C and 60% relative humidity) conditions. Seven moderately trained males performed a 30 min self-paced cycling trial on two separate occasions. The conditions were counterbalanced as control or whole-body pre-cooling by water immersion so that resting skin temperature was reduced by approximately 5-6 degrees C. After pre-cooling, mean skin temperature was lower throughout exercise and rectal temperature was lower (P < 0.05) between 15 and 25 min of exercise. Consequently, heat storage increased (P < 0.003) from 84.0+/-8.8 W x m(-2) to 153+/-13.1 W x m(-2) (mean +/- s(mean)) after pre-cooling, while total body sweat fell from 1.7+/-0.1 l x h(-1) to 1.2+/-0.1 l h(-1) (P < 0.05). The distance cycled increased from 14.9+/-0.8 to 15.8+/-0.7 km (P < 0.05) after pre-cooling. The results indicate that skin pre-cooling in the absence of a reduced rectal temperature is effective in reducing thermal strain and increasing the distance cycled in 30 min under warm humid conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bicycling*
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology*
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Heart Rate
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Humidity*
  • Immersion
  • Lactates / blood
  • Male
  • Respiratory Physiological Phenomena
  • Skin Temperature
  • Sweating


  • Lactates