Body mapping of sweating patterns in male athletes in mild exercise-induced hyperthermia

Abstract

Regional variation in sweating over the body is widely recognised. However, most studies only measured a limited number of regions, with the use of differing thermal states across studies making a good meta-analysis to obtain a whole body map problematic. A study was therefore conducted to investigate regional sweat rates (RSR) and distributions over the whole body in male athletes. A modified absorbent technique was used to collect sweat at two exercise intensities [55% (I1) and 75% (I2) \( {\dot{\text{V}}\text{O}}_{{2{ \max }}} \)] in moderately warm conditions (25°C, 50% rh, 2 m s−1 air velocity). At I1 and I2, highest sweat rates were observed on the central (upper and mid) and lower back, with values as high as 1,197, 1,148, and 856 g m−2 h−1, respectively, at I2. Lowest values were observed on the fingers, thumbs, and palms, with values of 144, 254, and 119 g m−2 h−1, respectively at I2. Sweat mapping of the head demonstrated high sweat rates on the forehead (1,710 g m−2 h−1 at I2) compared with low values on the chin (302 g m−2 h−1 at I2) and cheeks (279 g m−2 h−1 at I2). Sweat rate increased significantly in all regions from the low to high exercise intensity, with exception of the feet and ankles. No significant correlation was present between RSR and regional skin temperature (T sk), nor did RSR correspond to known patterns of regional sweat gland density. The present study has provided detailed regional sweat data over the whole body and has demonstrated large intra- and inter-segmental variation and the presence of consistent patterns of regional high versus low sweat rate areas in Caucasians male athletes. This data may have important applications for clothing design, thermophysiological modelling and thermal manikin design.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

References

  1. Bakkevig MK, Nielsen R (1995) Impact of activity level on sweat accumulation and thermal comfort using different underwear. Ergonomics 38:926–939

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Bender R, Lange S (1999) Multiple test procedures other than Bonferroni’s deserve wider use. BMJ 318:600–601

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Candas V (1986) Adaptation to extreme environments. Thermophysiological change in man during humid heat acclimation. In: Dejours P (ed) Comparative physiology of environmental adaptations. Karger, Basel, pp 76–93

    Google Scholar 

  4. Candas V, Libert JP, Vogt JJ (1979) Human skin wettedness and evaporative efficiency of sweating. J Appl Physiol 46:522–528

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Candas V, Libert JP, Vogt JJ (1980) Effect of hidromeiosis on sweat drippage during acclimation to humid heat. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 44:123–133

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Cotter JD, Patterson MJ, Taylor NA (1995) The topography of eccrine sweating in humans during exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 71:549–554

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Du Bois D, Du Bois EF (1916) A formula to estimate the approximate surface area if height and weight be known. Arch Intern Med 17:863–871

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Epstein Y, Stroschein LA, Pandolf KB (1987) Predicting metabolic costs of running with and without backpack loads. Eur J Appl Physiol 56:495–500

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Ferres HM (1960) The effect of pressure on sweating. J Physiol 151:591–597

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Fiala D, Lomas KJ, Stohrer M (1999) A computer model of human thermoregulation for a wide range of environmental conditions: the passive system. J Appl Physiol 87:1957–1972

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Fiala D, Lomas KJ, Stohrer M (2001) Computer prediction of human thermoregulatory and temperature responses to a wide range of environmental conditions. Int J Biometeorol 45:143–159

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Fogarty AL, Barlett R, Ventenat V, Havenith G (2007) Regional foot sweat rates during a 65-minute uphill walk with a backpack. In: Mekjavic IB, Kounalakis SN, Taylor NAS (eds) Environmental ergonomics XII. Biomed D.O.O., Ljubljana, pp 266–269

    Google Scholar 

  13. Fox RH, Edholm OG (1963) Nervous control of the cutaneous circulation. Br Med Bull 19:110–114

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Havenith G (1985) Individual parameters in thermoregulatory control; a review. Report Institute for Perception IZF 1985–26

  15. Havenith G (1997) Individual heat stress response. Thesis, Nijmegen University, Ponsen and Looijen press, Wageningen, 1997. ISBN 90-9010979. http://dare.ubn.kun.nl/bitstream/2066/18586/1/18586_indihestr.pdf

  16. Havenith G (2001a) Human surface to mass ratio and core temperature in exercise heat stress—a concept revisited. J Therm Biol 26:387–393

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Havenith G (2001b) An individual model of human thermoregulation for the simulation of heat stress response. J Appl Physiol 90:1943–1954

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Havenith G, Fogarty A, Bartlett R, Smith CJ, Ventenat V (2008a) Male and female upper body sweat distribution during running measured with technical absorbents. Eur J Appl Physiol 104:245–255

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Havenith G, Richards MG, Wang X, Brode P, Candas V, den Hartog E, Holmer I, Kuklane K, Meinander H, Nocker W (2008b) Apparent latent heat of evaporation from clothing: attenuation and “heat pipe” effects. J Appl Physiol 104:142–149

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Hertzman AB (1957) Individual differences in regional sweating. J Appl Physiol 10:242–248

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Jackson AS, Pollock ML (1978) Generalized equations for predicting body density of men. Br J Nutr 40:497–504

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Kenny GP, Jay O (2007) Evidence of a greater onset threshold for sweating in females following intense exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 101:487–493

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Kerslake D (1972) The stress of hot environments. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  24. Kuno Y (1956) Human perspiration. Charles C. Thomas Publ., Springfield

    Google Scholar 

  25. Livingstone SD, Nolan RW, Cain JB, Keefe AA (1994) Effects of working in hot environments on respiratory air temperature. Eur J Physiol Occup Physiol 69:98–101

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  26. Love AHG, Shanks RG (1962) The relationship between the onset of sweating and vasodilation in the forearm during body heating. J Physiol (Lond) 162:121–128

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  27. Machado-Moreira CA, Caldwell JN, Mekjavic IB, Taylor NA (2008a) Sweat secretion from palmar and dorsal surfaces of the hands during passive and active heating. Aviat Space Environ Med 79:1034–1040

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Machado-Moreira CA, Smith FM, van den Heuvel AM, Mekjavic IB, Taylor NA (2008b) Sweat secretion from the torso during passively-induced and exercise-related hyperthermia. Eur J Appl Physiol 104:265–270

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Machado-Moreira CA, Wilmink F, Meijer A, Mekjavic IB, Taylor NA (2008c) Local differences in sweat secretion from the head during rest and exercise in the heat. Eur J Appl Physiol 104:257–264

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Nadel ER (1979) Control of sweating rate while exercising in the heat. Med Sci Sports 11:31–35

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  31. Nadel ER, Bullard RW, Stolwijk JA (1971a) Importance of skin temperature in the regulation of sweating. J Appl Physiol 31:80–87

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  32. Nadel ER, Mitchell JW, Saltin B, Stolwijk JA (1971b) Peripheral modifications to the central drive for sweating. J Appl Physiol 31:828–833

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  33. Nadel ER, Mitchell JW, Stolwijk JA (1971c) Control of local and total sweating during exercise transients. Int J Biometeorol 15:201–206

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  34. Nielsen B (1969) Thermoregulation in rest and exercise. Acta Physiol Scand Suppl 323:1–74

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  35. Ogata K (1935) Functional variations in human sweat glands, with remarks upon the regional difference of the amount of sweat. J Oriental Med 23:98–101

    Google Scholar 

  36. Parsons K (2003) Human thermal environments: the effects of hot, moderate and cold environments on human health, comfort and performance. Taylor and Francis, London

    Google Scholar 

  37. Perneger TV (1998) What’s wrong with Bonferroni adjustments. Br Med J 316:1236–1238

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  38. Rowell LB (1977) Reflex control of the cutaneous vasculature. J Invest Dermatol 69:154–166

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  39. Shapiro Y, Pandolf KB, Goldman RF (1982) Predicting sweat loss response to exercise, environment and clothing. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 48:83–96

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  40. Smith CJ, Ventenat V, Havenith G (2007) Regional sweat rates of the arms and hands in male squash players. In: Mekjavic IB, Kounalakis SN, Taylor NAS (eds) Environmental ergonomics XII. Biomed d.o.o, Slovenia

    Google Scholar 

  41. Szabo G (1962) The number of eccrine sweat glands in human skin. In: Montagna W, Ellis RA, Silver AF (eds) Advances in biology of the skin. Pergamon Press, London, pp 1–5

    Google Scholar 

  42. Taylor NAS, Caldwell FN, Mekjavic IB (2006) The sweating foot: local differences in sweat secretion during exercise-induced hyperthermia. Aviat Space Environ Med 77:1020–1027

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. Watkins ES (1956) The effect on sweating of pressure on the body surface. Exp Physiol 41(3):263–270

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  44. Weiner JS (1945) The regional distribution of sweating. J Physiol 104:32–40

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to acknowledge the continued support from the Adidas Innovation Team during this study, with special thanks to Berthold Krabbe, Brady Anderson, Jean Piere Roy and James Lamont.

Conflict of interest

The research presented was funded by the Adidas Innovation Team, Germany and the Department of Ergonomics (Human Sciences), Loughborough University. The authors were fully responsible for the conduct of the trial and the data.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to George Havenith.

Additional information

Communicated by Narihiko Kondo.

Electronic supplementary material

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Smith, C.J., Havenith, G. Body mapping of sweating patterns in male athletes in mild exercise-induced hyperthermia. Eur J Appl Physiol 111, 1391–1404 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-010-1744-8

Download citation

Keywords

  • Sweating
  • Exercise
  • Metabolic rate
  • Regional
  • Sweat mapping