A case for the use of ‘sun-limiting’ garments in sport
Exploring training outcomes and athlete perceptions in a hot environment
Keywords:thermoregulation, team sport, wellbeing
Purpose: Solar radiation (SR) exposure decreases exercise performance in hot environments. Utilizing garments that cover the upper body could lead to improved training outcomes by limiting SR to the skins surface. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of a ‘sun-limiting’ garment on team-sport training outcomes and perceived thermal stress in a hot environment. Methods: Professional Australian Rules footballers (n=16) wore standard training attire (n=9) or standard training attire with the addition of a ‘sun-limiting’ garment (n=7) during seven standard, pre-season training sessions. External load was collected via GPS, internal load from ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) and thermal stress via thermal comfort (TC) and thermal Strain (TS) questionnaires pre-, during- and post-training. Results: Wearing the training garment was associated with decreased post-training TS (-0.94 AU, p<0.001) and TC (-0.68 AU, p<0.001). The training garment had no effect on Total Distance, High-Speed Running, pre- or mid- training TS and TC or RPE (all p>0.05). Conclusions: A ‘sun-limiting’ garment decreased post-training thermal stress without meaningful effect on GPS training outcomes or RPE. Wearing ‘sun-limiting’ garments may serve to reduce the risk of adverse skin-health outcomes, while potentially mitigating long-term stress in team-sport athletes training in hot environments.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Fergus K. O’Connor, Jonathan D. Bartlett, Thomas M. Doering, Vernon G. Coffey
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