Thermal Extremes Research


Often uniformed personnel and athletes must work, train and compete under extremes of environmental temperature. Building upon early research by ERG that that investigated the effect of hot and cold stresses on exercise performance, thermoregulation and immune status, Prof Walsh, Dr Fortes and Dr Mee have completed a series of studies assessing the effects of a novel post-exercise hot water immersion method to heat acclimate individuals. The findings demonstrate that for those residing and training in temperate conditions, incorporating a hot bath into the post-exercise washing routine on six consecutive days represents a simple, practical, economical, and effective heat acclimation strategy to improve endurance performance in the heat.

Research conducted by the extremes research group has also identified that skin temperature can be assessed using portable telemetry iButtons. This means skin temperature can be measured at many sites on the body without the complication of thermistor wires that hinder participants’ movements. Prof Walsh’s group also demonstrated that exposure to extreme cold can impair the immune system, which may lead to increased infection risk and that exercise induced muscle damage is a likely risk factor for exertional heat illness, and its associated complications including acute kidney injury.

Selected Publications (click on titles below to read the study summary):

Zurawlew MJ, Mee JA, Walsh NP (2018) Heat Acclimation by Post-Exercise Hot Water Immersion in the Morning Reduces Thermal Strain During Morning and Afternoon Exercise-Heat-Stress. Int J Sports Phsyiol Perform, DOI: 10.1123/ijspp.2017-0620

Oliver SJ, Brierley JL, Raymond- Barker PC, Dolci A. and Walsh NP. (2016) Portable Prehospital Methods to Treat Near-Hypothermic Shivering Cold Casualties, 27 (1) 125-130

Zurawlew, MJ, Walsh NP, Fortes MB, and Potter C, (2015) Post-exercise hot water induces heat acclimation and improves endurance exercise performance in the heat. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports DOI: 10.1111/sms.12638

Junglee NA, Di Felice U, Dolci A, Fortes MB, Jibani MM, Lemmey AB, Walsh NP, and Macdonald JH (2013). Exercising in a hot environment with muscle damage: effects on acute kidney injury biomarkers and kidney function. American Journal of Physiology. Renal Physiology, 305, 813-820.

Fortes MB, Di Felice U, Dolci A, Junglee NA, Crockford MJ, West L, Hillier-Smith R, Macdonald JH, and Walsh NP (2013). Muscle damaging exercise increase heat strain during subsequent exercise heat stress. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 45, 1915-1924.

Harper Smith A, Crabtree D, Bilzon JLJ, and Walsh NP (2010). The validity of wireless ibuttons and thermistors for human skin temperature measurement. Physiological Measurement, 31, 95-114.

Laing SJ, Jackson A, Walters R, Whitham M, and Walsh NP (2008). Neutrophil degranulation response to prolonged exercise performed with and without a thermal clamp. Journal of Applied Physiology, 104, 20-26.

Whitham M, Laing SJ, Jackson A, and Walsh NP (2007). Plasma HSP70 response to prolonged exercise performed with and without a thermal clamp. Journal of Applied Physiology, 103, 1251-1256.