This study determined whether a torso-vest forced ambient air body ventilation system (BVS) reduced physiological strain during exercise-heat stress. Seven heat-acclimated volunteers attempted nine, 2-h treadmill walks at 200 W m-2 in three environments, -40°C, 20% rh (HD), 35°C, 75% rh (HW), and 30°C, 50% rh, (WW) wearing the Army Combat Uniform, interceptor body armor (IBA) and Kevlar helmet. Three trials in each environment were BVS turned on (BVSOn), BVS turned off (BVSOff), and no BVS (IBA). In HD, BVSOn significantly lowered core temperature (Tre), heart rate (HR), mean skin temperature (Tsk), mean torso skin temperature (Ttorso), thermal sensation (TS), heat storage (S), and physiological strain index (PSI), versus BVSOff and IBA (P < 0.05). For HW (n = 6), analyses were possible only through 60 min. Exercise tolerance time (min) during HW was significantly longer for BVSOn (116 ± 10 min) versus BVSOff (95 ± 22 min) and IBA (96 ± 18 min) (P < 0.05). During HW, BVSOn lowered HR at 60 min versus IBA, Tsk from 30 to 60 min versus BVSOff and IBA, and PSI from 45 to 60 min versus BVSOff and at 60 min versus IBA (P < 0.05). BVSOn changes in Tre and HR were lower in HD and HW. During WW, BVSOn significantly lowered HR, Tsk, and T torso versus BVSOff and IBA (P < 0.05) during late exercise. Sweating rates were significantly lower for BVSOn versus BVSOff and IBA in both HD and WW (P < 0.05), but not HW. These results indicate that BVSOn reduces physiological strain in all three environments by a similar amount; however, in hot-dry conditions the BVSOff increases physiological strain.
- Ambient air ventilation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation