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Heat alleviation strategies for athletic performance: a review and practitioner guidelines

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-30, 16:36 authored by Oliver R. Gibson, Carl A. James, Jessica A. Mee, Ashley G. B. Willmott, Gareth Turner, Mark Hayes, Neil S. Maxwell
International competition inevitably presents logistical challenges for athletes. Events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, require further consideration given weather forecasts suggest athletes will experience significant heat stress. Given the expected climate, athletes face major challenges to health and performance. With this in mind, heat alleviation strategies should be a fundamental consideration. This review provides a focused perspective of the relevant literature describing how practitioners can structure male and female athlete preparations for performance in hot, humid conditions. Whilst scientific literature commonly describes experimental work, with a primary focus on maximising magnitudes of adaptive responses, this may sacrifice ecological validity, particularly for athletes whom must balance logistical considerations aligned with integrating environmental preparation around training, tapering and travel plans. Additionally, opportunities for sophisticated interventions may not be possible in the constrained environment of the athlete village or event arenas. This review therefore takes knowledge gained from robust experimental work, interprets it and provides direction on how practitioners/coaches can optimise their athletes’ heat alleviation strategies. This review identifies two distinct heat alleviation themes that should be considered to form an individualised strategy for the athlete to enhance thermoregulatory/performance physiology. First, chronic heat alleviation techniques are outlined, these describe interventions such as heat acclimation, which are implemented pre, during and post-training to prepare for the increased heat stress. Second, acute heat alleviation techniques that are implemented immediately prior to, and sometimes during the event are discussed.



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Taylor & Francis

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  • Accepted version


  • eng

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Faculty of Science & Engineering

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