Effects of increased activity level on physiological and subjective responses at different high temperatures

Xiaoyu Tian, Yun Deng, Pawel Wargocki, Weiwei Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    This study investigates the varies in human physiological response, subjective sensation and acute subclinical health symptoms with increasing activity levels at different high temperatures. Thirty-two healthy subjects were recruited to walk on a treadmill in a climate chamber at a speed of 4 km/h. They experienced four temperature conditions (26 °C, 30 °C, 33 °C and 37 °C), each exposure lasting 85 min. Eardrum temperature, heart rate, skin temperature, systolic blood pressure, respiratory flow, and respiration rate changed significantly with increasing temperatures. At temperature of 37 °C, the SpO2 decreased significantly compared with at 33 °C. Subjects perceived the environment unacceptable at 37 °C. The perceived air quality and air freshness correlated linearly with the enthalpy of air. The intensity of headache, dizziness, fatigue and sleepiness increased with increasing temperatures, while only aggravated significantly at 37 °C. Additionally, compared with the results at light activity level, heart rate and other key physiological parameters increased significantly with increasing activity levels. The subjects felt “very hot” at 37 °C, and the change trend in symptoms reported by subjects increased significantly at 37 °C with the increased exposure time, while no significant change was observed in 26-33 °C. It indicates that exposure to 37 °C impairs the health and safety of heat acclimatized subjects. Using linear fitting curve to predict human physiological tolerance time suggested by ISO 9986. The result shows that eardrum temperature exceeded 38.5 °C for 97min continuously walk at 37 °C. This provides valuable information involved physiological and psychological responses when human exposed to high temperatures in daily life or industrial production.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number108011
    JournalBuilding and Environment
    Number of pages13
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    The project was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51978661 and No. 51778625 ), also supported by Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of Central South University (Grants NO. 2021zzts0155 ). The authors would like to thank the participants who volunteered for this study.


    • High temperature
    • Increased activity level
    • Subjective responses
    • Thermal physiological responses


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