Sports and Leisure

Temperature-related effects on health and performance

In many respects, body and ambient temperatures are the key for well-being and good performance. The normal core body temperature of a healthy person lies between 36 °C and 37 °C. However, at high outdoor temperatures, the body heats up and the body's cooling system must work at "full power" which consumes much energy.

Perspiration usually ensures that the body temperature does not rise significantly. However, at very high outside temperatures, this mechanism is not sufficient. Without external cooling, the body is not able to effectively dissipate the heat. This results in overheating with conspicuous decrease in performance and early fatigue that can include nausea or even cardiovascular problems.

Heat reduces athletic performance

The human body is less physically fit at high temperatures. The decrease in performance is small in the beginning, but deteriorates continuously with mounting stress. This performance loss is an indication that athletes - in particular, endurance athletes - must make a greater effort when it is hot and cannot call up 100 per cent of their ability. Throughout this, the strain on the cardiovascular system continually increases; fatigue develops earlier than at lower ambient temperatures.