Short term heat acclimation reduces heat strain during a first, but not second, consecutive exercise-heat exposure

J Sci Med Sport. 2021 Apr 6;S1440-2440(21)00084-0. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2021.03.020. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: Determine whether five days of heat acclimation reduces cardiovascular and thermoregulatory strain during consecutive exercise-heat exposures on the sixth day in the heat.

Design: Pair-matched randomized control trial.

Methods: Twenty-four males completed two, 120min exercise sessions (Session 1, Session 2) in a single day before (Day 1) and after (Day 6) four additional days of exercise in either hot (HOT: 40°C, 40% relative humidity, n=16) or temperate (CON: 23°C, 25% relative humidity, n=8) environments. A mixed-methods heat acclimation approach was implemented. Day 2 consisted of 120min of moderate-high intensity treadmill exercise. Days 3-5 consisted of 90min of moderate-high intensity exercise, with HOT completing this in a hyperthermia clamped manner at rectal temperature ≥38.5°C, and CON<38.5°C.

Results: Session 1 end of exercise rectal temperature and heart rate were lower on Day 6 compared to Day 1 for HOT (p=0.012, p=0.003) but not CON (p=0.152, p=0.437). Session 2 end of exercise rectal temperature was not different between days for HOT (p=0.104) or CON (p=0.275). Session 2 end of exercise heart rate was lower on Day 6 compared to Day 1 for HOT (p=0.004) and CON (p=0.039). Session 1 sweat sensitivity was greater on Day 6 compared to Day 1 for HOT (p=0.039) but not CON (p=0.257). Sweat rate was unchanged for HOT and CON between days during Session 1 (p=0.184, p=0.962) and Session 2 (p=0.051, p=0.793), respectively.

Conclusions: Five days of heat acclimation reduced cardiovascular strain but not thermoregulatory strain during the second, consecutive exercise-heat exposure. CLINICALTRIALS.

Gov identifier: NCT04053465.

Keywords: Acclimatisation; Consecutive days; Exercise; Rest; Subsequent exercise.

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