Heat acclimation does not protect trained males from hyperthermia-induced impairments in complex task performance

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This study evaluated if adaptation to environmental heat stress can counteract the negative effects of hyperthermia on complex motor performance. Thirteen healthy, trained males completed 28 days of heat acclimation with 1 h daily exercise exposure to environmental heat (39.4 ± 0.3 °C and 27.0 ± 1.0% relative humidity). Following comprehensive familiarization, the participants completed motor-cognitive testing before acclimation, as well as after 14 and 28 days of training in the heat. On all three occasions, the participants were tested, at baseline (after ~15 min passive heat exposure) and following exercise-induced hyperthermia which provoked an increase in core temperature of 2.8 ± 0.1 °C (similar across days). Both cognitively dominated test scores and motor performance were maintained during passive heat exposure (no reduction or difference between day 0, 14, and 28 compared to cool conditions). In contrast, complex motor task performance was significantly reduced in hyperthermic conditions by 9.4 ± 3.4% at day 0; 15.1 ± 5.0% at day 14, and 13.0 ± 4.8% at day 28 (all p < 0.05 compared to baseline but not different across days). These results let us conclude that heat acclimation cannot protect trained males from being negatively affected by hyperthermia when they perform complex tasks relying on a combination of cognitive performance and motor function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number716
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number5
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Visuo-motor tracking, Mathematics, Motor performance, Hyperthermia, Core temperature, Task complexity, Heat stress

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