Intense exercise increases the post-exercise threshold for sweating

Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1997;76(2):116-21. doi: 10.1007/s004210050222.


We demonstrated previously that esophageal temperature (T(es)) remains elevated by approximately 0.5 degrees C for at least 65 min after intense exercise. Following exercise, average skin temperature (T(avg)) and skin blood flow returned rapidly to pre-exercise values even though T(es) remained elevated, indicating that the T(es) threshold for vasodilation is elevated during this period. The present study evaluates the hypothesis that the threshold for sweating is also increased following intense exercise. Four males and three females were immersed in water (water temperature, T(w) = 42 degrees C) until onset of sweating (Immersion 1), followed by recovery in air (air temperature, T(a) = 24 degrees C). At a T(a) of 24 degrees C, 15 min of cycle ergometry (70% VO2max) (Exercise) was then followed by 30 min of recovery. Subjects were then immersed again (T(w) = 42 degrees C) until onset of sweating (Immersion 2). Baseline T(es) and T(skavg) were 37.0 (0.1) degrees C and 32.3 (0.3) degrees C, respectively. Because the T(skavg) at the onset of sweating was different during Exercise [30.9 (0.3) degrees C] than during Immersion 1 and Immersion 2 [36.8 (0.2) degrees C and 36.4 (0.2) degrees C, respectively] a corrected core temperature, T((es) (calculated)), was calculated at a single designated skin temperature, T((sk)(designated)), as follows: T((es)(calculated)) = T(es) + [beta/(1-beta)][T(skavg)-T((sk)(designated))]. The T((sk)(designated)) was set at 36.5 degrees C (mean of Immersion 1 and Immersion 2 conditions) and beta represents the fractional contribution of T(skavg) to the sweating response (beta for sweating = 0.1). While T((es)(calculated)) at the onset of sweating was significantly lower during exercise [36.7 (0.2) degrees C] than during Immersion 1 [37.1 (0.1) degrees C], the threshold of sweating during Immersion 2 [37.3 (0.1) degrees C] was greater than during both Exercise and Immersion 1 (P < 0.05). We conclude that intense exercise decreases the sweating threshold during exercise itself, but elicits a subsequent short-term increase in the resting sweating threshold.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Temperature Regulation
  • Female
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Immersion
  • Male
  • Physical Exertion / physiology*
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology*
  • Skin / blood supply*
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena
  • Sweating / physiology*
  • Vasodilation / physiology*