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Heat & Cycling

Medical Series Articles: About Medical Depression ] Achilles Tendonitis ] Asthma Medications ] Back Pain ] Bicycling First Aid Kit ] Collarbone & Shoulder Injuries ] Diabetes, Cycling, & Insulin ] Exercise-Induced Bronchospasm ] Forefoot Problems ] Gastrointestinal Problems ] Heat & Cycling ] Injury in the Tour de France ] Muscle Cramps ] Obesity ] Overuse Injuries ] RICE, NSAIDs ] Ride or Rest? ] Riding Poorly--Is It Medical ] Road Rash ] Saddle Sores ] Sleep for Cyclists ] Stretching ] Tips to Lose Weight ] Traumatic Injuries ]


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Most of the information in this article is incorporated into the book Bicycling Medicine.
 


Heat & Cycling (Introduction)


Heat affects cycling performance. Heat can also cause heat illness. This is especially important to cyclists of long hilly road rides that last a couple of hours or more.


Hereís how heat affects the body, and how its effects can be minimized.


Performance with Heat and Humidity

Muscles have an optimal operating temperature. Exercise generates body heat. Hot bodies donít perform as well. The body cools itself through sweating. When the body is hot, more blood flows to the skin to aid in sweating, and less is available for your muscles. This decreases muscle performance and work. Dehydration is also more likely, and this in turn decreases performance.


Short efforts are not likely to be hindered by heat and humidity. Events longer than five minutes will be affected.


Adaptations allow improved physical performance, but this improved performance is never as good in tropical conditions as it is in moderate climates.


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1989-2012

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