Heat Loss is Impaired in Older Men on the Day following Prolonged Work in the Heat.Med Sci Sports Exerc 2018MS
Prolonged work in the heat may exacerbate the rise in core temperature on the next work day, especially in older workers who display impairments in whole-body heat loss that increase body heat storage and core temperature relative to young adults during heat stress. We therefore evaluated whether whole-body heat loss in older adults was impaired on the day following prolonged work in the heat.
Whole-body heat exchange and heat storage were assessed in nine older (53-64 years) males during three, 30-min bouts of semi-recumbent cycling at fixed rates of metabolic heat production (150 (Ex1), 200 (Ex2), 250 Wm (Ex3)), each separated by 15-min recovery, in hot-dry conditions (40°C, 20% relative humidity), immediately prior to (Day 1), and on the day following (Day 2), a prolonged, work simulation (~7.5 h) involving moderate-intensity intermittent exercise in hot-dry conditions (38°C, 34% relative humidity). Total heat loss (evaporative ± dry heat exchange) and metabolic heat production were measured using direct and indirect calorimetry, respectively. Body heat storage was quantified as the temporal summation of heat production and loss.
Total heat loss (mean±SD) during Ex1 did not differ between Day 1 and 2 (151±15 and 147±14 Wm, respectively; P=0.27), but was attenuated on Day 2 during Ex2 (181±15 Wm) and Ex3 (218±16 Wm) relative to Day 1 (192±14 and 230±19 Wm, respectively; both P<0.01). Consequently, body heat storage throughout the protocol on Day 2 (276±114 kJ) was 31% greater than on Day 1 (191±87 kJ; P<0.01).
Prolonged work in the heat causes next-day impairments in whole-body heat loss, which exacerbate heat storage and may elevate the risk of heat-injury on the following day in older workers.