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Consensus recommendations on training and competing in the heat
  1. S Racinais1,
  2. J M Alonso2,3,
  3. A J Coutts4,
  4. A D Flouris5,
  5. O Girard6,
  6. J González-Alonso7,
  7. C Hausswirth8,
  8. O Jay9,
  9. J K W Lee10,11,12,
  10. N Mitchell13,
  11. G P Nassis14,
  12. L Nybo15,
  13. B M Pluim16,
  14. B Roelands17,
  15. M N Sawka18,
  16. J Wingo19,
  17. J D Périard1
  1. 1Athlete Health and Performance Research Centre, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  2. 2Sports Medicine Department, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  3. 3Medical and Anti-doping Commission, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Montecarlo, Monaco
  4. 4Sport and Exercise Discipline Group, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Australia
  5. 5FAME Laboratory, Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, University of Thessaly, Trikala, Greece
  6. 6Department of Physiology, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, ISSUL, Institute of Sport Sciences, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
  7. 7Department of Life Sciences, Centre for Sports Medicine and Human Performance, College of Health and Life Sciences, Brunel University London, Uxbridge, UK
  8. 8Research Department, Laboratory of Sport, Expertise and Performance, French National Institute of Sport (INSEP), Paris, France
  9. 9Discipline of Exercise and Sport Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Lidcombe, Australia
  10. 10Defence Medical and Environmental Research Institute, DSO National Laboratories, Singapore, Singapore
  11. 11Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore
  12. 12Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore
  13. 13British Cycling and ‘Sky Pro Cycling’, National Cycling Centre, Manchester, UK
  14. 14National Sports Medicine Programme, Excellence in Football Project, Aspetar, Qatar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  15. 15Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sport, Section of Human Physiology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  16. 16Medical Department, Royal Netherlands Lawn Tennis Association (KNLTB), Amersfoort, The Netherlands
  17. 17Department of Human Physiology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
  18. 18School of Applied Physiology, College of Science, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  19. 19Department of Kinesiology, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sébastien Racinais, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Research and Education Centre, PO Box 29222, Doha, Qatar; sebastien.racinais{at}aspetar.com

Abstract

Exercising in the heat induces thermoregulatory and other physiological strain that can lead to impairments in endurance exercise capacity. The purpose of this consensus statement is to provide up-to-date recommendations to optimise performance during sporting activities undertaken in hot ambient conditions. The most important intervention one can adopt to reduce physiological strain and optimise performance is to heat acclimatise. Heat acclimatisation should comprise repeated exercise-heat exposures over 1–2 weeks. In addition, athletes should initiate competition and training in a euhydrated state and minimise dehydration during exercise. Following the development of commercial cooling systems (eg, cooling-vest), athletes can implement cooling strategies to facilitate heat loss or increase heat storage capacity before training or competing in the heat. Moreover, event organisers should plan for large shaded areas, along with cooling and rehydration facilities, and schedule events in accordance with minimising the health risks of athletes, especially in mass participation events and during the first hot days of the year. Following the recent examples of the 2008 Olympics and the 2014 FIFA World Cup, sport governing bodies should consider allowing additional (or longer) recovery periods between and during events, for hydration and body cooling opportunities, when competitions are held in the heat.

  • Thermoregulation
  • Hypohydration
  • Heat acclimatisation
  • Heat stress

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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