European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 112, Issue 12, pp 3939–3947 | Cite as

Effect of ambient temperature on endurance performance while wearing cross-country skiing clothing

  • Mariann SandsundEmail author
  • Vegard Saursaunet
  • Øystein Wiggen
  • Julie Renberg
  • Hilde Færevik
  • Mireille C. P. van Beekvelt
Original Article


This study assessed the effects of exposure to cold (−14 and −9 °C), cool (−4 and 1 °C) and moderate warm (10 and 20 °C) environments on aerobic endurance performance-related variables: maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), running time to exhaustion (TTE), running economy and running speed at lactate threshold (LT). Nine male endurance athletes wearing cross-country ski racing suit performed a standard running test at six ambient temperatures in a climatic chamber with a wind speed of 5 m s−1. The exercise protocol consisted of a 10-min warm-up period followed by four submaximal periods of 5 min at increasing intensities between 67 and 91 % of VO2max and finally a maximal test to exhaustion. During the time course mean skin temperature decreased significantly with reduced ambient temperatures whereas T re increased during all conditions. T re was lower at −14 °C than at −9 and 20 °C. Running economy was significantly reduced in warm compared to cool environments and was also reduced at 20 °C compared to −9 °C. Running speed at LT was significantly higher at −4 °C than at −9, 10 and 20 °C. TTE was significantly longer at −4 and 1 °C than at −14, 10 and 20 °C. No significant differences in VO2max were found between the various ambient conditions. The optimal aerobic endurance performance wearing a cross-country ski racing suit was found to be −4 and 1 °C, while performance was reduced under moderate warm (10 and 20 °C) and cold (−14 and −9 °C) ambient conditions.


Thermoregulation Cold Aerobic power Performance Clothing Cross-country skiers 



The authors wish to thank the athletes for their participation in this study, which was supported by the Research Council of Norway and the partners of the ColdWear project (

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interests.

Ethical standards

The experiments comply with the current laws in Norway in which the experiments are performed.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mariann Sandsund
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vegard Saursaunet
    • 2
  • Øystein Wiggen
    • 1
    • 3
  • Julie Renberg
    • 3
  • Hilde Færevik
    • 1
  • Mireille C. P. van Beekvelt
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Health ResearchSINTEF Technology and SocietyTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Department of Human Movement ScienceNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  3. 3.Department of BiologyNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway

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