Thermal Extremes Research

Overview

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.

Key Staff

Prof Neil Walsh

Dr Samuel Oliver

Dr Jessica Mee