Journal of Applied Physiology

Effects of body mass and morphology on thermal responses in water

M. M. Toner, M. N. Sawka, M. E. Foley, K. B. Pandolf


Ten male volunteers were divided into two groups based on body morphology and mass. The large-body mass (LM) group (n = 5) was 16.3 kg heavier and 0.22 cm2 X kg-1 X 10(-2) smaller in surface area-to-mass ratio (AD X wt-1) (P less than 0.05) than the small-body mass (SM) group (n = 5). Both groups were similar in total body fat and skinfold thicknesses (P greater than 0.05). All individuals were immersed for 1 h in stirred water at 26 degrees C during both rest and one intensity of exercise (metabolic rate approximately 550 W). During resting exposures metabolic rate (M) and rectal temperature (Tre) were not different (P greater than 0.05) between the LM and SM groups at min 60. Esophageal temperature (Tes) was higher (P less than 0.05) for the SM group at min 60, although the change in Tes during the 60 min between groups was similar (LM, -0.4 degrees C; SM, -0.2 degrees C). Tissue insulation (I) was lower (P less than 0.05) for SM (0.061 degrees C X m-2 X W-1) compared with the LM group (0.098 degrees C X m-2 X W-1). During exercise M, Tre, Tes, and I were not different (P greater than 0.05) between groups at min 60. These data illustrate that a greater body mass between individuals increases the overall tissue insulation during rest, most likely as a result of a greater volume of muscle tissue to provide insulation.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)