Individual characteristics associated with the magnitude of heat acclimation adaptations

Puck Alkemade, Nicola Gerrett, Thijs M H Eijsvogels, Hein A M Daanen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


PURPOSE: The magnitude of heat acclimation (HA) adaptations varies largely among individuals, but it remains unclear what factors influence this variability. This study compared individual characteristics related to fitness status and body dimensions of low-, medium-, and high responders to HA.

METHODS: Twenty-four participants (9 female, 15 male; maximum oxygen uptake [[Formula: see text]O2peak,kg] 52 ± 9 mL kg-1 min-1) completed 10 daily controlled-hyperthermia HA sessions. Adaptations were evaluated by heat stress tests (HST; 35 min cycling 1.5 W kg-1; 33 °C, 65% relative humidity) pre- and post-HA. Low-, medium-, and high responder groups were determined based on tertiles (n = 8) of individual adaptations for resting rectal temperature (Tre), exercise-induced Tre rise (ΔTre), whole-body sweat rate (WBSR), and heart rate (HR).

RESULTS: Body dimensions (p > 0.3) and [Formula: see text]O2peak,kg (p > 0.052) did not differentiate low-, medium-, and high responders for resting Tre or ΔTre. High WBSR responders had a larger body mass and lower body surface area-to-mass ratio than low responders (83.0 ± 9.3 vs 67.5 ± 7.3 kg; 249 ± 12 vs 274 ± 15 cm2 kg-1, respectively; p < 0.005). Conversely, high HR responders had a smaller body mass than low responders (69.2 ± 6.8 vs 83.4 ± 9.4 kg; p = 0.02). [Formula: see text]O2peak,kg did not differ among levels of responsiveness for WBSR and HR (p > 0.3).

CONCLUSION: Individual body dimensions influenced the magnitude of sudomotor and cardiovascular adaptive responses, but did not differentiate Tre adaptations to HA. The influence of [Formula: see text]O2peak,kg on the magnitude of adaptations was limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1593-1606
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number6
Early online date1 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by ZONMW and the Dutch Research Council (NWO) with grants held by Hein Daanen and Thijs Eijsvogels. Puck Alkemade was funded by the Citius Altius Sanius project (P16-28) from NWO and Nicola Gerrett through ZONMW (#546001003).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Controlled hyperthermia
  • Heat acclimation
  • Inter-individual variation
  • Maximum oxygen uptake
  • Morphology
  • Physical fitness


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