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Consumers may experience hypothermia without knowing it when exercising outdoors

Researchers say certain outdoor environments make it difficult to detect changes in body temperature

Photo (c) Tim Robberts - Getty Images
A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Tsukuba explored one of the risks associated with outdoor exercise

According to their findings, it may be difficult for consumers to identify symptoms related to hypothermia when exercising outdoors or in the water. They say that’s because these environments may make it difficult for consumers to detect changes in body temperature

Monitoring body temperature during exercise

The researchers were most interested in understanding how core body temperature was affected when consumers exercise outdoors. They also wanted to see how accurately people perceived their own body temperatures and the degree to which they felt temperature changes when participating in outdoor physical activities

For the study, the researchers analyzed several factors, including core body temperature, perception of cold, skin temperature, and skin sensation in 11 healthy young men. The team measured these things while the participants exercised in a cold water tank and again while the group was at rest. 

Ultimately, the study showed that the participants were more successful at identifying changes in core body temperature when at rest as opposed to during exercise in a cold environment. The participants tended not to feel as physically cold during exercise as they did at rest, even though their skin temperatures were similar. 

These findings are important because they highlight the two primary ways the body regulates temperature: physiologically and biologically. While the body works naturally to adjust its temperature, the researchers say our perceptions also play a role in core body temperature.

These findings could have serious implications, especially for people who live in colder climates or regularly play winter sports. Staying mindful of body temperature when engaging in physical activity outdoors can help consumers prevent more serious symptoms associated with hypothermia. 

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