Purpose: To measure core temperature (T core) in open-water (OW) swimmers during a 25-km competition and identify the predictors of T core drop and hypothermia-related dropouts. Methods: Twenty-four national- and international-level OW swimmers participated in the study. Participants completed a personal questionnaire and a body fat/muscle mass assessment before the race. The average speed was calculated on each lap over a 2500-m course. T core was continuously recorded via an ingestible temperature sensor (e-Celsius, BodyCap). Hypothermia-related dropouts (H group) were compared with finishers (nH group). Results: Average prerace T core was 37.5°C (0.3°C) (N = 21). 7 participants dropped out due to hypothermia (H, n = 7) with a mean T core at dropout of 35.3°C (1.5°C). Multiple logistic regression analysis found that body fat percentage and initial T core were associated with hypothermia (G 2 = 17.26, P < .001). Early T core drop ≤37.1°C at 2500 m was associated with a greater rate of hypothermia-related dropouts (71.4% vs 14.3%, P = .017). Multiple linear regression found that body fat percentage and previous participation were associated with T core drop (F = 4.95, P = .019). There was a positive correlation between the decrease in speed and T core drop (r = .462, P < .001). Conclusions: During an OW 25-km competition at 20°C to 21°C, lower initial T core and lower body fat, as well as premature T core drop, were associated with an increased risk of hypothermia-related dropout. Lower body fat and no previous participation, as well as decrease in swimming speed, were associated with T core drop.
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Joffrey Drigny, Marine Rolland, Robin Pla, Christophe Chesneau, Tess Lebreton, Benjamin Marais, Pierre Outin, Sébastien Moussay, Sébastien Racinais, and Benoit Mauvieux
Sebastien Racinais, Martin Buchheit, Johann Bilsborough, Pitre C. Bourdon, Justin Cordy, and Aaron J. Coutts
To examine the physiological and performance responses to a heat-acclimatization camp in highly trained professional team-sport athletes.
Eighteen male Australian Rules Football players trained for 2 wk in hot ambient conditions (31–33°C, humidity 34–50%). Players performed a laboratory-based heat-response test (24-min walk + 24 min seated; 44°C), a YoYo Intermittent Recovery Level 2 Test (YoYoIR2; indoor, temperate environment, 23°C) and standardized training drills (STD; outdoor, hot environment, 32°C) at the beginning and end of the camp.
The heat-response test showed partial heat acclimatization (eg, a decrease in skin temperature, heart rate, and sweat sodium concentration, P < .05). In addition, plasma volume (PV, CO rebreathing, +2.68 [0.83; 4.53] mL/kg) and distance covered during both the YoYoIR2 (+311 [260; 361] m) and the STD (+45.6 [13.9; 77.4] m) increased postcamp (P < .01). None of the performance changes showed clear correlations with PV changes (r < .24), but the improvements in running STD distance in hot environment were correlated with changes in hematocrit during the heat-response test (r = –.52, 90%CI [–.77; –.12]). There was no clear correlation between the performance improvements in temperate and hot ambient conditions (r < .26).
Running performance in both hot and temperate environments was improved after a football training camp in hot ambient conditions that stimulated heat acclimatization. However, physiological and performance responses were highly individual, and the absence of correlations between physical-performance improvements in hot and temperate environments suggests that their physiological basis might differ.
Sebastien Racinais, Nadia Gaoua, Khouloud Mtibaa, Rodney Whiteley, Christophe Hautier, and Marine Alhammoud
To determine the effect of cold ambient conditions on proprioception and cognitive function in elite alpine skiers.
22 high-level alpine skiers and 14 control participants performed a proprioceptive-acuity (active movement-extent discrimination) and a cognitive (planning task) test in cold (8°C) and temperate (24°C) ambient conditions.
All participants displayed an increase in thermal discomfort and the amount of negative affects in the cold environment (all P < .05). Average proprioceptive acuity was significantly better in the elite skiers (0.46° ± 0.12°) than in the control group (0.55° ± 0.12°) (P < .05) and was not affected by cold ambient conditions, except for a shift in the pattern of error (over- vs underestimation, P < .05). Cognitive performance was similar between elite skiers and control participants in temperate environments but decreased in the cold in the control group only (P < .05) becoming lower than in elite skiers (P < .05).
Elite alpine skiers showed a significantly better proprioceptive acuity than a control population and were able to maintain their performance during a cognitive task in a cold environment.
Sebastien Racinais, Julien D. Périard, Julien Piscione, Pitre C. Bourdon, Scott Cocking, Mohammed Ihsan, Mathieu Lacome, David Nichols, Nathan Townsend, Gavin Travers, Mathew G. Wilson, and Olivier Girard
Purpose: To investigate whether including heat and altitude exposures during an elite team-sport training camp induces similar or greater performance benefits. Methods: The study assessed 56 elite male rugby players for maximal oxygen uptake, repeated-sprint cycling, and Yo-Yo intermittent recovery level 2 (Yo-Yo) before and after a 2-week training camp, which included 5 endurance and 5 repeated-sprint cycling sessions in addition to daily rugby training. Players were separated into 4 groups: (1) control (all sessions in temperate conditions at sea level), (2) heat training (endurance sessions in the heat), (3) altitude (repeated-sprint sessions and sleeping in hypoxia), and (4) combined heat and altitude (endurance in the heat, repeated sprints, and sleeping in hypoxia). Results: Training increased maximal oxygen uptake (4% [10%], P = .017), maximal aerobic power (9% [8%], P < .001), and repeated-sprint peak (5% [10%], P = .004) and average power (12% [14%], P < .001) independent of training conditions. Yo-Yo distance increased (16% [17%], P < .001) but not in the altitude group (P = .562). Training in heat lowered core temperature and increased sweat rate during a heat-response test (P < .05). Conclusion: A 2-week intensified training camp improved maximal oxygen uptake, repeated-sprint ability, and aerobic performance in elite rugby players. Adding heat and/or altitude did not further enhance physical performance, and altitude appears to have been detrimental to improving Yo-Yo.
Salma Alabdulwahed, Natalia Galán-López, Tom Hill, Lewis J. James, Bryna Catherine Rose Chrismas, Sebastien Racinais, Trent Stellingwerff, Diogo V. Leal, Matheus Hausen, Karim Chamari, Hugh H.K. Fullagar, Christopher Esh, and Lee Taylor
Purpose: To survey elite athletes and practitioners to identify (1) knowledge and application of heat acclimation/acclimatization (HA) interventions, (2) barriers to HA application, and (3) nutritional practices supporting HA. Methods: Elite athletes (n = 55) and practitioners (n = 99) completed an online survey. Mann–Whitney U tests (effect size [ES; r]) assessed differences between ROLE (athletes vs practitioners) and CLIMATE (hot vs temperate). Logistic regression and Pearson chi-square (ES Phi [ϕ]) assessed relationships. Results: Practitioners were more likely to report measuring athletes’ core temperature (training: practitioners 40% [athletes 15%]; P = .001, odds ratio = 4.0, 95% CI, 2%–9%; competition: practitioners 25% [athletes 9%]; P = .020, odds ratio = 3.4, 95% CI, 1%–10%). Practitioners (55% [15% athletes]) were more likely to perceive rectal as the gold standard core temperature measurement site (P = .013, ϕ = .49, medium ES). Temperate (57% [22% hot]) CLIMATE dwellers ranked active HA effectiveness higher (P < .001, r = .30, medium ES). Practitioners commonly identified athletes’ preference (48%), accessibility, and cost (both 47%) as barriers to HA. Increasing carbohydrate intake when training in the heat was more likely recommended by practitioners (49%) than adopted by athletes (26%; P = .006, 95% CI, 0.1%–1%). Practitioners (56% [28% athletes]) were more likely to plan athletes’ daily fluid strategies, adopting a preplanned approach (P = .001; 95% CI, 0.1%–1%). Conclusions: Practitioners, and to a greater extent athletes, lacked self-reported key HA knowledge (eg, core temperature assessment/monitoring methods) yet demonstrated comparatively more appropriate nutritional practices (eg, hydration).