We are organisms that are capable of regulating our own heat internally and externally. This allows us to thrive and survive in a variety of environments. Maintaining heat in our body is essential for cellular functions to occur properly.
Vital organs in our core, like our heart, liver, brain, and kidneys, produce a lot of heat. As we increase our exertion, stress on these organs increases, and our core body temperature rises. Our bodies distribute heat away from our core, to our extremities via increased blood flow. Higher blood flow to our limbs allows for even distribution of heat throughout our bodies. Our bodies dissipate heat by accelerating sweat and radiation.
The primary mechanism which senses and moderates internal body temperature is the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus has a regulated set point at which there is a minimum and maximum body temperature that the body should maintain. As the temperature within the body changes past those values, regulation occurs to manage heat loss or gain.
Thermal balance is regulated via heat loss. Radiative, conductive, convective, and evaporative are the avenues by which the body can dissipate heat. The warmer the environment, the more heat is lost via evaporation. At colder temperatures, the body will radiate its heat to maintain thermal balance. The body will balance itself using the avenues of heat loss according to the environment.
Managing heat is essential for performance and health. When body temperature is not being successfully regulated, performance and health are risked. In order to maximize your human potential, understanding how to regulate your heat to perform better and how to train to tolerate more heat will benefit your performance and results.
Coach Morgan Flaharty is a certified personal trainer based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. As a trainer and as an athlete, Morgan knows fitness: he is a certified strength & conditioning specialist and a U.S. Olympic wrestling hopeful. Contact MOGO Training Services today, and Morgan will give you the tools you need to change your life.
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