ACCLIMATIZATION TO HOT, HUMID ENVIRONMENTS
Adapting to differing environmental conditions is called acclimatization.
People who are newly introduced to a hot, humid climate and
are moderately active in it can acclimatize in 8 to 14 days. People
who are sedentary take much longer. Until they are acclimatized,
people are much more likely to develop heat injuries.
A person's ability to perform
effectively in hot, humid conditions depends on both his acclimatization
and level of fitness. The degree of heat stress directly depends
on the relative workload. When two people do the same task,
the heat stress is less for the person who is in better physical
condition, and his performance is likely to be better. Therefore,
it is important to maintain high levels of fitness.
Increased temperatures and
humidity cause increased heart rates. Consequently, it takes much
less effort to elevate the heart rate into the training zone,
but the training effect is the same.
Some important changes occur
as a result of acclimatization to a hot climate. The following
physical adaptations help the body cope with a hot environment:
- Sweating occurs at a lower body temperature.
- Sweat production is increased.
- Blood volume is increased.
- Heart rate is less at any given work rate.