Energy cost of wearing chemical protective clothing during progressive treadmill walking

Aviat Space Environ Med. 1995 Mar;66(3):238-42.


While chemical protective (CP) clothing is known to adversely affect physical performance, few data exist regarding the physiological response of wearing US military CP clothing during incremental, dynamic exercise. To quantify the effects of CP clothing on energy cost and to test the hypothesis that the mask contributes little to this effect, oxygen uptake (VO2) and ventilation (VE) were determined in 14 male soldiers who walked on a treadmill at 1.56 m.s-1 for 20 min each at 0, 5, and 10% grades in three clothing conditions: BDU (battledress uniform only), MASK (BDU + M-17 protective mask), and CP clothing (MASK + overgarment, gloves and boots). In BDU's, exercise intensities expressed as %VO2max were 29, 42, and 59% at the three grades, respectively. VO2 was significantly (p < 0.01) greater at all grades (range 13 to 18%) in CP clothing compared to BDU. However, no differences in VO2 were seen between BDU and MASK at any level of exercise. VE was significantly higher at the two highest grades in CP clothing compared to BDU but when expressed relative to VO2 (VE/VO2) was significantly lower at 0% and 5% grades but not at 10%. In the MASK condition, VE was significantly lower at the 10% grade and VE/VO2 was significantly lower at all grades compared to BDU. The results show that despite the mask induced hypoventilation, VO2 is unaffected at exercise intensities up to 60% of VO2max.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Exercise Test
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Protective Clothing*


  • Oxygen