Saturday, 16 March 2013

Testing Week Two

Heat Acclimation Overload

Another week of testing with the start of the heat acclimation process for one third of the students on the project. The heat acclimation training requires 10 days of 90mins cycling at 50%VO2max in 40 degrees Celsius. Measures of heart rate, rating of perceived exertion, thermal sensation, core temperature and physiological strain are taken every 5th minute for all participants.

The other two thirds of the group are either completing a normothermic training for the same duration and intensity, or no training at all. The students in the control doing no training at all are acting as the experimenters and busy collecting all the data from the 16 exercising participants.

Needless to say, the heat acclimation hasn't been easy, but the 8 students completing the training have worked hard so far, especially considering this has had to be done around their normal students and the considerable amount of work that is due in soon or immediately after Peru.

In the week prior, participants had completed VO2max tests and heat tolerance tests in which they run until exhaustion in the 40C environment. All participants will complete these tests again after 5 and 10 training sessions.

Participants are also required to give venous blood samples at the same time points. This is to measure various blood markers including heat shock protein 72, a protein chaperone known to be up-regulated when the body is subjected to sufficient environmental and physical strain. It is suggested that by up-regulating HSP72 an individual may improve their tolerance to environmental extremes such as heat and altitude.

Oli Gibson, who is leading this research project, is now looking rather more stressed than normal, as the snow day and closure of the University has caused all sorts of problems with rearranging of testing, lectures and bookings for the chamber. Fortunately it all seems to be going well, follow our twitter page to follow how it goes.

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