Exercising in hot weather is the most stressful condition for exercise. It leads to early fatigue owing to a
range of physiological factors in which high body temperature is a
Furthermore, the ability to maintain body temperature
in an atmosphere of high temperatures declines with age, which is why
people over 60 are the most vulnerable population during heat waves.
‘Heat-dissipating compression garments did not improve the performance of athletes but lowered it. This clothing was also found to have the potential to increase heart rate after an intense effort.’
There are two main strategies of proven effectiveness when it comes
to preventing health problems and fighting against the reduction in
performance in hot atmospheres: heat acclimatization and rehydration.
recent years, many other strategies have also been explored to reduce
and/or delay increases in core (or internal) temperature and therefore
enhance sports performance. Strategies ranging from ice water baths to
the intake of slushies including the application of bags filled with ice
or the use of compression clothing, among others.
Heat-dissipating clothing and sweat efficiency
Specifically, manufacturers of this heat-dissipating compression
clothing assure users that it offers temperature-controlling benefits
when the heat dissipates as a result of an improvement in sweat
efficiency. Yet so far there have been no studies supporting these
claims of compression clothing for the upper part of the body where most
of the sweating takes place.
In his thesis, Iker Leoz has investigated the validity of a type of
compression garment designed to dissipate heat as a strategy for
reducing increases in body temperature during exercise in various
environmental conditions and in the healthy and physically active
"We carried out four studies, all published in international
impact journals: three of them on young, physically active
participants; and a fourth one in which we recruited older individuals
with an average age of 66 and physically trained; the participants
exercised in thermoneutral environments, between 20 and 23 oC; warm
environments at 25 oC; and hot ones at 40 oC," explained Iker Leoz.
The studies ran showed that the use of heat-dissipating compression
garments offers no temperature-controlling benefits in physically active
young people during moderate exercise at a temperature of 20 oC, even
though during passive recovery the use of garments of this type could
help to lower body temperature.
In a hot atmosphere (40 oC) and also in the case of physically
active young people, heat-dissipating compression garments failed to
mitigate not only cardiovascular but also temperature control stress
during moderate exercise. And as Leoz found, cardiovascular stress could
increase at that temperature during active recovery and even increase
the consumption of oxygen and production of CO2.
In the case of trained cyclists with an average age of 66, garments
of this type increased body temperature. For this reason Leoz recommends
that this population should not use heat-dissipating compression
clothing, as it could increase the onset of hyperthermia (raising of
body temperature above the normal levels).
The study into intense efforts (treadmill bout to the point of
exhaustion) revealed that heat-dissipating compression garments not only
did not improve the performance of recreational runners but also
lowered it. This clothing was also found to have the potential to
increase heart rate after an intense effort. "Recreational cyclists
should be made aware of the possible adverse effects of this type of
clothing," said the researcher in his thesis.