This study investigates the effects of a short-term aerobic training program in a hot environment on thermoregulation, blood parameters, sweat secretion and composition in tropic-dwellers who have been exposed to passive heat. Sixteen healthy Malaysian-Malay male volunteers underwent heat acclimation (HA) by exercising on a bicycle ergometer at 60% of VO2max for 60 min each day in a hot environment (Ta: 31.1±0.1°C, rh: 70.0±4.4%) for 14 days. All parameters mentioned above were recorded on Day 1 and at the end of HA (Day 16). On these two days, subjects rested for 10 min, then cycled at 60% of VO2max for 60 min and rested again for 20 min (recovery) in an improvised heat chamber. Rectal temperature (Tre), mean skin temperature (Tsk) heart rate (HR), ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), thermal sensation (TS), local sweat rate and percent dehydration were recorded during the test. Sweat concentration was analysed for sodium [Na+]sweat and potassium. Blood samples were analysed for biochemical changes, electrolytes and hematologic indices. Urine samples were collected before and after each test and analysed for electrolytes.
After the period of acclimation the percent dehydration during exercise significantly increased from 1.77±0.09% (Day 1) to 2.14±0.07% (Day 16). Resting levels of hemoglobin, hematocrit and red blood cells decreased significantly while [Na+]sweat increased significantly. For Tre and Tsk there were no differences at rest. Tre, HR, RPE, TS, plasma lactate concentration, hemoglobin and hematocrit at the 40th min of exercise were significantly lower after the period of acclimation but mean corpuscular hemoglobin and serum osmolality were significantly higher while no difference was seen in [Na+]sweat and Tsk. It can be concluded that tropic-dwelling subjects, although exposed to prolonged passive heat exposure, were not fully heat acclimatized. To achieve further HA, they should gradually expose themselves to exercise-heat stress in a hot environment.
2005 Japan Society of Physiological Anthropology