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Effect of Ambient Temperature on Cardiovascular Drift and Maximal Oxygen Uptake


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: June 2008 - Volume 40 - Issue 6 - p 1065-1071
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181666ed7
BASIC SCIENCES: Original Investigations

Purpose: This study tested the hypothesis that the magnitude of cardiovascular (CV) drift and decrease in maximal oxygen uptake (V˙O2max) would be greater at 35°C than at 22°C.

Methods: The increase in HR and decrease in stroke volume (SV) between 15 and 45 min of cycling at 59.2 ± 1.9% V˙O2max (CV drift) was measured in hot (HEAT, 35°C) and cool (COOL, 22°C) ambient temperatures in 10 endurance-trained men (age = 23 ± 3 yr, V˙O2max = 64.7 ± 8.7 mL·kg−1·min−1). V˙O2max was measured immediately after the 45 min of cycling and again under both ambient temperature conditions on separate days after 15 min of cycling. This design permitted assessment of V˙O2max between the same time points that CV drift occurred. Fluid to replace sweat losses was provided during all trials.

Results: CV drift and the associated decrease in V˙O2max was greater (P < 0.05) in HEAT versus COOL. HR increased 11% (P < 0.05), SV decreased 11% (P < 0.05), and V˙O2max fell 15% (P < 0.05) between 15 and 45 min in HEAT, whereas HR and SV changed less (+2% and −2% for HR and SV, respectively, P < 0.05), and there was no significant decrease in V˙O2max (5%, P > 0.05) between 15 and 45 min in COOL.

Conclusion: These data demonstrate the magnitude of CV drift during prolonged submaximal exercise, and the accompanying decrease in V˙O2max measured immediately thereafter is greater in a hot than in a cool environment.

1Department of Biology, University of Portland, Portland, OR; 2Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, Dallas, TX; 3Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT; 4Department of Kinesiology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Address for correspondence: Kirk J. Cureton, Ph.D., Department of Kinesiology, Ramsey Center, 330 River Road, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-6554; E-mail:

Submitted for publication July 2007.

Accepted for publication December 2007.

©2008The American College of Sports Medicine