Exercise modality modulates body temperature regulation during exercise in uncompensable heat stress

Zachary J Schlader, Aaron Raman, R Hugh Morton, Stephen R Stannard, Toby Mündel
European Journal of Applied Physiology 2011, 111 (5): 757-66
This study evaluated exercise modality [i.e. self-paced (SP) or fixed-intensity (FI) exercise] as a modulator of body temperature regulation under uncompensable heat stress. Eight well-trained male cyclists completed (work-matched) FI and SP cycling exercise bouts in a hot (40.6 ± 0.2°C) and dry (relative humidity 23 ± 3%) environment estimated to elicit 70% of [Formula: see text]O(2)max. Exercise intensity (i.e. power output) decreased over time in SP, which resulted in longer exercise duration (FI 20.3 ± 3.4 min, SP 23.2 ± 4.1 min). According to the heat strain index, the modification of exercise intensity in SP improved the compensability of the thermal environment which, relative to FI, was likely a result of the reductions in metabolic heat production (i.e. [Formula: see text]O(2)). Consequently, the rate of rise in core body temperature was higher in FI (0.108 ± 0.020°C/min) than in SP (0.082 ± 0.016°C/min). Interestingly, cardiac output, stroke volume, and heart rate during exercise were independent of exercise modality. However, core body temperature (FI 39.4 ± 0.3°C, SP 39.1 ± 0.4°C), blood lactate (FI 2.9 ± 0.8 mmol/L, SP 2.3 ± 0.7 mmol/L), perceived exertion (FI 18 ± 2, SP 16 ± 2), and physiological strain (FI 9.1 ± 0.9, SP 8.3 ± 1.1) were all higher in FI compared to SP at exhaustion/completion. These findings indicate that, when exercise is SP, behavioral modification of metabolic heat production improves the compensability of the thermal environment and reduces thermoregulatory strain. Therefore, under uncompensable heat stress, exercise modality modulates body temperature regulation.

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