Gastric emptying during exercise: effects of heat stress and hypohydration

Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1989;58(4):433-9. doi: 10.1007/BF00643521.


To determine the effects of acute heat stress, heat acclimation and hypohydration on the gastric emptying rate of water (W) during treadmill exercise, ten physically fit men ingested 400 ml of W before each of three 15 min bouts of exercise (treadmill, approximately 50% VO2max) on five separate occasions. Stomach contents were aspirated after each exercise bout. Before heat acclimation (ACC), experiments were performed in a neutral (18 degrees C), hot (49 degrees C) and warm (35 degrees C) environment. Subjects were euhydrated for all experiments before ACC. After ACC, the subjects completed two more experiments in the warm (35 degrees C) environment; one while euhydrated and a final one while hypohydrated (-5% of body weight). The volume of ingested water emptied into the intestines at the completion of each exercise bout was inversely correlated (P less than 0.01) with the rectal temperature (r = -0.76). The following new observations were made: 1) exercise in a hot (49 degrees C) environment impairs gastric emptying rate as compared with a neutral (18 degrees C) environment, 2) exercise in a warm (35 degrees C) environment does not significantly reduce gastric emptying before or after heat acclimation, but 3) exercise in a warm environment (35 degrees C) when hypohydrated reduces gastric emptying rate and stomach secretions. Reductions in gastric emptying appear to be related to the severity of the thermal strain induced by an exercise/heat stress.

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization
  • Adult
  • Body Temperature
  • Dehydration / physiopathology*
  • Gastric Emptying*
  • Heart Rate
  • Hot Temperature / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Stress, Physiological / physiopathology