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Examining the Influence of Exercise Intensity and Hydration on Gastrointestinal Temperature in Collegiate Football Players

DeMartini-Nolan, Julie K.1; Martschinske, Jessica L.2; Casa, Douglas J.2; Lopez, Rebecca M.3; Stearns, Rebecca L.2; Ganio, Matthew S.4; Coris, Eric5

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: October 2018 - Volume 32 - Issue 10 - p 2888–2896
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002137
Original Research

DeMartini-Nolan, JK, Martschinske, JL, Casa, DJ, Lopez, RM, Stearns, RL, Ganio, MS, and Coris, E. Examining the influence of exercise intensity and hydration on gastrointestinal temperature in collegiate football players. J Strength Cond Res 32(10): 2888–2896, 2018—Debate exists regarding the influence of intensity and hydration on body temperature during American football. The purpose of this study was to observe body core temperature responses with changes in intensity and hydration. Twenty-nine male football players (age = 21 ± 1 year, height = 187 ± 9 cm, mass = 110.1 ± 23.5 kg, body mass index [BMI] = 31.3 ± 5.0, and body surface area [BSA] = 2.34 ± 0.27 m2) participated in 8 days of practice in a warm environment (wet bulb globe temperature: 29.6 ± 1.6° C). Participants were identified as starters (S; n = 12) or nonstarters (n = 17) and linemen (L; n = 14) or nonlinemen (NL; n = 15). Variables of interest included core body temperature (T), hydration status, and physical performance characteristics as measured by a global positioning system. Intensity measures of average heart rate (138 ± 9 bpm), low-velocity movement (4.2 ± 1.7%), high-velocity movement (0.6 ± 0.6%), and average velocity (0.36 ± 0.10 m·s−1) accounted for 42% of the variability observed in T (38.32 ± 0.34° C, r = 0.65, p = 0.01). Hydration measures (percent body mass loss = −1.56 ± 0.80%, urine specific gravity [Usg] = 1.025 ± 0.006, and urine color [Ucol] = 6 ± 1) did not add to the prediction of T (p = 0.83). Metrics of exercise intensity accounted for 39% of the variability observed in maximum T (38.83 ± 0.42° C, r = 0.62, p = 0.02). Hydration measures did not add to this prediction (p = 0.40). Low-velocity movement, high-velocity movement, average velocity, BMI, and BSA were significantly different (p = 0.002, p < 0.001, p = 0.02, p < 0.001, p < 0.001, respectively) between L vs. NL. Heart rate and T were not different between L and NL (p > 0.05). Exercise intensity primarily accounted for the rise in core body temperature. Although L spent less time at higher velocities, T was similar to NL, suggesting that differences in BMI and BSA added to thermoregulatory strain.

1Athletic Training Education Program, College of Health Professions, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Connecticut;

2Department of Kinesiology, Korey Stringer Institute, University of Connecticut, Mansfield, Connecticut;

3Department of Orthopaedics, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida;

4Department of Kinesiology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas; and

5Department of Orthopedics, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida

Address correspondence to Julie K. DeMartini-Nolan,

Copyright © 2018 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.