Do Women And Men Respond Differently To Heat?
Human body has its own heat regulating system which prevents overheating of the body on a hot summer day or during strenuous exercise session. This internal heating system acts as a furnace and releases heat in different forms to maintain the internal temperature, of these one is sweating. The rise in external temperature acts as a stimulus for hypothalamus, the thermostat of body which makes physiological alterations in your body to maintain the inner temperature.
Previously, it was believed that body’s respond towards heat is gender dependent. However, recent studies have cast a doubt on this statement. According to a study conducted by scientists at University of Wollongong in Australia and Mie Prefectural College of Nursing in Japan, the body response towards heat depends upon difference between body surface area and mass, not the gender. Another hypothesis is that people with larger surface area tend to sweat more to adjust increasing heat.
Details Of The Study
The study was conducted on 60 healthy individuals, 24 females and 36 males of different body shapes and sizes. The researchers analyzed vasomotor and sudomotor functions of the study population. The participants were asked to cycle twice for 45 minutes at 82.4F and 36% humidity. Each cycle was for 45minutes at heat evolving, constant pace. There was 20-minute resting period between both cycles. During the study session, the research team observed the following:
- During activity session, the body aims to maintain normal temperature by increasing the blood flow towards the skin. This promotes sweating.
- It was found that mass specified area plays a major role in determining sudomotor (or sweat and motor) and vasomotor responses in both women and men. It accounted for 10 to 48% of the individual’s variability in the body’s response towards heat.
- The researchers also considered differences in physical characteristics between male and female but, not even 5% of the changes were accountable for gender dependent factors.
Moreover, research study also suggested that both men and women with greater surface area per body mass kilogram tend to reduce heat via increase body circulation rather than sweating. Whereas, larger people rely more on sweating to lose extra heat. Thus, it was concluded that the difference in body’s response towards heat is not gender related but, the difference in primarily defined by morphological characteristics.
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