Factors affecting your thermoregulation abilities

I thought I would write a post about this as understanding the biophysical factors in which affect heat exchange during exercise is important.

Do you enjoy a nice bike ride during the day, or even a nice jog during the afternoon when it is a bit cooler?

It is important to always keep cool during not only the hot Australian summer, but also the unpredictable nature of today’s climate. Pre-cooling (cooling your body before it reaches stressful temperatures) aims to counteract the negative effects of hot environments.

Common methods for pre-cooling include the use of a cooled room, cold-water immersion, cooling vests, cold drink ingestion, or a combination of these methods. I would also recommend a minimum of 2.5 litres of water a day to assist in flushing waste out from your body, regulating body temperature and helping your brain function. I would also recommend water as the first thing to enter your system in the morning, this will stimulate your appetite (more enjoyable breakfast) and get you ready for the day.

Some factors which affect your ability to regulate your body temperature include your age and sex. These are both biophysical factors in which affect your ability to deal with heat. As you get older, there may be some diminishing of sweat gland output and skin blood flow. However, there is only a marginal age-related effect which exist for thermal tolerance.

The larger surface area relative to mass of women give an advantage in losing heat (this is a good thing!). Sweating in women is generally less intensive and more delayed than men during heat exposures.

Examples of how temperature affects performance.

How it can improve performance.

Sprinting is improved in the heat as there is an increase in core and muscle temperature.

What causes fatigue during prolonged submaximal intensity exercise (endurance) in the heat?

Extreme core hyperthermia (not to be confused with hypothermia), especially in the central nervous system

What causes fatigue during high-intensity exercise in the heat?

Restrictions in muscle metabolism – your muscles are working hard to keep up! Furthermore, there is a blunting of aerobic energy production due to competing thermoregulatory demands.

I hope this helps to explain the importance of water and motivates you to drink more, especially when doing physical activity!

Yours in good health,

Coach Allan