Core Temperature and Sweating in Men and Women During a 15-km Race in Cool Conditions

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: Studies often assess the impact of sex on the relation between core body temperature (CBT), whole-body sweat rate (WBSR), and heat production during exercise in laboratory settings, but less is known in free-living conditions. Therefore, the authors compared the relation between CBT, WBSR, and heat production between sexes in a 15-km race under cool conditions. Methods: During 3 editions of the Seven Hills Run (Nijmegen, the Netherlands) with similar ambient conditions (8–12°C, 80–95% relative humidity), CBT and WBSR were measured among 375 participants (52% male) before and immediately after the 15-km race. Heat production was estimated using initial body mass and mean running speed, assuming negligible external work. Results: Men finished the race in 76 (12) minutes and women in 83 (13) minutes (P < .001, effect size [ES] = 0.55). Absolute heat production was higher in men than in women (1185 [163] W vs 867 [122] W, respectively, P < .001, ES = 1.47), even after normalizing to body mass (15.0 [2.2] W/kg vs 13.8 [1.9] W/kg, P < .001, ES = 0.56). Finish CBT did not differ between men and women (39.2°C [0.7°C] vs 39.2°C [0.7°C], P = .71, ES = 0.04). Men demonstrated a greater increase in CBT (1.5°C [0.8°C] vs 1.3°C [0.7°C], respectively, P = .013, ES = 0.31); the sex difference remains after correcting for heat production (P = .004). WBSR was larger in men (18.0 [6.9] g/min) than in women (11.4 [4.7] g/min; P < .001, ES = 0.97). A weak correlation between WBSR and heat production was found irrespective of sex (R2 = .395, P < .001). Conclusions: WBSR was associated with heat production, irrespective of sex, during a self-paced 15-km running race in cool environmental conditions. Men had a higher ΔCBT than women.

Bongers, ten Haaf, Eijsvogels, and Hopman are with the Dept of Physiology, Radboud Inst for Health Sciences, radboud university medical center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Bongers is also with the Thermal Ergonomics Laboratory, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia. Ravanelli is with the Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Centre, Montréal Heart Inst Research Centre, Montréal, QC, Canada, and the Dept of Pharmacology and Physiology, University of Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada.

Hopman (Maria.Hopman@radboudumc.nl) is corresponding author.
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