The effect of ageing and fitness on thermoregulatory response to high-intensity exercise

S. Best, C. Caillaud, M. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


There are conflicting reports as to whether ageing causes a decreased thermoregulatory response, or if observed differences in previous studies are related to maximal aerobic capacity or training status. This study hypothesized that thermoregulatory response to severe exercise-heat stress is maintained with ageing when both young and older subjects are well trained. Seven older highly trained (OHT=51-63 years) cyclists were matched with two groups of young cyclists (19-35 years); one group matched for training status [young highly trained (YHT) participants, n=7] and another for V ̇ O 2 max [young moderately trained (YMT), n=7]. Each participant exercised at 70% V ̇ O 2 max in hot (35°C, 40% relative humidity) and thermoneutral (20°C, 40% relative humidity) conditions for 60min. Final rectal temperature in the thermoneutral and heat (YHT=39.13±0.33°C, YMT=39.11±0.38°C, OHT=39.11±0.51°C) tests were similar between all three groups. %HR max (heat test: YHT=92.5±6.0%, YMT=91.6±4.4%, OHT=88.6±5.1%), skin temperature, and cutaneous vascular conductance during cycling in both environments were similar between groups. Lower sweat loss and evaporative heat loss in the heat test in the OHT and YMT groups when compared with the YHT group reflected lower metabolic heat production. The findings of the present study suggest that thermoregulatory response is maintained with age among highly trained subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e29-e37
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Aging
  • Core temperature
  • Exercise
  • Skin blood flow
  • Sweating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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