Influence of Air Velocity on Self-Paced Exercise Performance in Hot Conditions

Felicity M Bright, Brad Clark, Ollie Jay, Julien D Périard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

PURPOSE: This study aimed to determine the effect of different air velocities on heat exchange and performance during prolonged self-paced exercise in the heat. METHODS: Twelve male cyclists performed a 700-kJ time trial in four different air velocity conditions (still air, 16, 30, and 44 km·h -1 ) in 32°C and 40% relative humidity. Performance, thermal, cardiovascular, and perceptual responses were measured, and heat balance parameters were estimated using partitional calorimetry, including the maximum potential for sweat evaporation ( Emax ). RESULTS: Mean power output was lower in still air (232 ± 42 W) than 16 (247 ± 30 W), 30 (250 ± 32 W), and 44 km·h -1 (248 ± 32 W; all P < 0.001), but similar between the 16-, 30-, and 44-km·h -1 air velocity conditions ( P ≥ 0.275). Emax was lower in still air (160 ± 13 W·m -2 ) than 16 (298 ± 25 W·m -2 ), 30 (313 ± 23 W·m -2 ), and 44 km·h -1 (324 ± 31 W·m -2 ) and lower in 16 than 44 km·h -1 (all P < 0.001). Peak core temperature was higher in still air (39.4°C ± 0.7°C) than 16 (39.0°C ± 0.45°C), 30 (38.8°C ± 0.3°C), and 44 km·h -1 (38.8°C ± 0.5°C; all P ≤ 0.002). Mean skin temperature was lower with greater airflow ( P < 0.001) but similar in 30 and 40 km·h -1 ( P = 1.00). Mean heart rate was ~2 bpm higher in still air than 44 km·h -1 ( P = 0.035). RPE was greater in still air than 44 km·h -1 ( P = 0.017). CONCLUSIONS: Self-paced cycling in still air was associated with a lower Emax and subsequently higher thermal strain, along with a similar or greater cardiovascular strain, despite work rate being lower than in conditions with airflow. The similarity in performance between the 16-, 30-, and 44-km·h -1 air velocity conditions suggests that airflow ≥16 km·h -1 does not further benefit self-paced exercise performance in the heat because of modest improvements in evaporative efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1382-1391
Number of pages10
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Volume55
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes

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