Heat alleviation strategies for athletic performance: a review and practitioner guidelines

Oliver R. Gibson, Carl James, Jessica Anne Mee, Ashley Willmott, Gareth Turner, Mark Hayes, Neil Maxwell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

International competition inevitably presents logistical challenges for athletes. Events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games require further consideration given historical climate data suggest athletes will experience significant heat stress. Given the expected climate, athletes face major challenges to health and performance. With this in mind, heat alleviation strategies should be a fundamental consideration. This review provides a focused perspective of the relevant literature describing how practitioners can structure male and female athlete preparations for performance in hot, humid conditions. Whilst scientific literature commonly describes experimental work, with a primary focus on maximizing magnitudes of adaptive responses, this may sacrifice ecological validity, particularly for athletes whom must balance logistical considerations aligned with integrating environmental preparation around training, tapering and travel plans. Additionally, opportunities for sophisticated interventions may not be possible in the constrained environment of the athlete village or event arenas. This review therefore takes knowledge gained from robust experimental work, interprets it and provides direction on how practitioners/coaches can optimize their athletes’ heat alleviation strategies. This review identifies two distinct heat alleviation themes that should be considered to form an individualized strategy for the athlete to enhance thermoregulatory/performance physiology. First, chronic heat alleviation techniques are outlined, these describe interventions such as heat acclimation, which are implemented pre, during and post-training to prepare for the increased heat stress. Second, acute heat alleviation techniques that are implemented immediately prior to, and sometimes during the event are discussed. Abbreviations: CWI: Cold water immersion; HA: Heat acclimation; HR: Heart rate; HSP: Heat shock protein; HWI: Hot water immersion; LTHA: Long-term heat acclimation; MTHA: Medium-term heat acclimation; ODHA: Once-daily heat acclimation; RH: Relative humidity; RPE: Rating of perceived exertion; STHA: Short-term heat acclimation; T CORE: Core temperature; TDHA: Twice-daily heat acclimation; TS: Thermal sensation; T SKIN: Skin temperature; V̇O 2max: Maximal oxygen uptake; WGBT: Wet bulb globe temperature.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTemperature
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2019

Fingerprint

Athletic Performance
Hot Temperature
Guidelines
Acclimatization
Athletes
Immersion
Climate
Literature
Temperature
Skin Temperature
Tokyo
Water
Heat-Shock Proteins
Humidity

Bibliographical note

© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

Keywords

  • Heat acclimation
  • adaptation
  • athlete
  • cooling
  • heat acclimatization
  • thermoregulation

Cite this

Gibson, Oliver R. ; James, Carl ; Mee, Jessica Anne ; Willmott, Ashley ; Turner, Gareth ; Hayes, Mark ; Maxwell, Neil. / Heat alleviation strategies for athletic performance : a review and practitioner guidelines. In: Temperature. 2019.
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Heat alleviation strategies for athletic performance : a review and practitioner guidelines. / Gibson, Oliver R.; James, Carl; Mee, Jessica Anne; Willmott, Ashley; Turner, Gareth; Hayes, Mark; Maxwell, Neil.

In: Temperature, 12.10.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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