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Exercise In The Heat. Essay

3220 words - 13 pages

INTRODUCTIONSome of the most severe stress an athlete can encounter is exercise in the heat. The fact that many sporting events are held in unfavourable environmental conditions makes it crucial that coaches/trainers appreciate the severity of this challenge and understand how to effectively acclimatise their athletes for competition in the heat. Performance is almost always worsened during hot weather, and sometimes the heat can pose a threat to the athlete's health. Some famous championship marathon races that where held in hot weather provide some examples of serious heat illness, including Dorando Pietri in the 1908 Olympic marathon in London, Jim Peters at the Empire Games marathon in Vancouver in 1954, and Gabrielle Andersen-Schiess at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic marathon. Athletes that compete in shorter events in heat such as rugby, football and tennis also fall victim to the heat. Athletes who live, train and often compete in mild climates are placed at a large disadvantage when the event they are going to compete in is going to be a hot and humid environment, because of this, a training schedule should be devised to cope with the temperature changes and minimise the disadvantage. The following text and case study will provide knowledge of heat and exercise and the importance of hydration, acclimatisation and prevention of the serious illnesses that it can impose on athletes.REVIEW OF LITERATUREThe human body is highly sensitive to alterations in internal temperature, and is normally maintained at approximately 37oC (Wilmore and Costill, 1999). An individual can tolerate a variation of only about 4oC in the deep body temperature without impairment to physical and mental performance (Astrand and Rhodal, 1986).If dehydration is allowed to occur, the improved ability to tolerate heat that results from the acclimatization process will be compromised (Sawka & Pandolf 1990). There is no way to adapt to dehydration; trying it would be very dangerous.About 75% of the energy turnover during exercise is wasted as heat, inevitably causing body temperature to rise. In cool environments, much of this body heat can readily be transferred to the air (Nadel, 1988), but when the environmental temperature exceeds skin temperature, heat is gained and body temperature can rise to dangerous levels. At high ambient temperatures when it is not excessively humid, the only effective means of heat loss is by the evaporation of sweat secreted onto the skin.The evaporation of sweat is effective in dissipating large amounts of heat and will limit the rise in core temperature to no more than 3-4°C except some of the more extreme conditions of heat and humidity.The physiological response to exercise in the heat is determined in part by the intensity of the exercise and in part by the degree of heat stress. At the same power output, exercise in the heat results in a higher heart rate and a higher cardiac output, as well as higher core and skin temperatures,...

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