Aging and assessment of physiological strain during exercise-heat stress

Daniel S. Moran, W. Larry Kenney, Jane M. Pierzga, Kent B. Pandolf

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25 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the physiological strain index (PSI) for different age groups during exercise-heat stress (EHS). PSI was applied to three different databases. First, from young and middle-age men (21 ± 2 and 46 ± 5 yr, respectively) matched (n = 9 each, P > 0.05) for maximal aerobic power. Subjects were heat acclimated by daily treadmill walking for two 50-min bouts separated by 10-min rest for 10 days in a hot-dry environment [49°C, 20% relative humidity (RH)]. The second database involved a group (n = 8) of young (YA) and a group (n = 7) of older (OA) men (26 ± 1 and 69 ± 1 yr, respectively) who underwent 16 wk of aerobic training and two control groups (n = 7 each) who were matched for age to YA and OA. These four groups performed EHS at 36°C, 40% RH on a cycle ergometer for 60 min at 60% maximal aerobic power before and after training. The third database was obtained from three groups of postmenopausal women and a group of 10 men. Two groups of women (n = 8 each) were undergoing hormone replacement therapy, estrogen or estrogen plus progesterone, and the third group (n = 9) received no hormone replacement. Subjects were over 50 yr and performed the same EHS: exercising at 36°C, 40% RH on a cycle ergometer for 60 min. PSI assessed the strain for all three databases and reported differences were significant at P < 0.05. This index rated the strain in rank order, whereas the postacclimation and posttraining groups were assessed as having less strain than the preacclimation and pretraining groups. Furthermore, middle-aged women on estrogen replacement therapy had less strain than estrogen + progesterone and no hormone therapy. PSI evaluation was extended for men and women of different ages (50-70 yr) during acute EHS, heat acclimation, after aerobic training, and inclusive of women undergoing hormone replacement therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R1063-R1069
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number4 51-4
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Esophageal temperature
  • Heart rate
  • Predictive indexes
  • Rectal temperature


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