Environmental Considerations

Environmental Considerations

  • Temperature regulation (convection, radiation, conduction, evaporation)
  • Climatic conditions (temperature, humidity, wind, rain, altitude, pollution)
  • Guidelines for fluid intake
  • Acclimatisation

Temperature Regulation

  • Convection
    • Mode of heat transfer away from the body.
    • Occurs across the skin by moving fluid.
    • Example: A runner loses heat to surrounding air as they move through it.
  • Radiation
    • Heat loss through infrared rays to the environment.
    • Example: Radiation of heat during exercising when the body gets heated.
  • Conduction
    • The heat is transferred from one object to another through direct contact.
    • Example: While running or playing tennis, our feet are in contact with the surface of the playing field.
  • Evaporation
    • Major mode of heat loss during physical activity.
    • Heat is lost through sweat.

Climatic Conditions

  • Temperature
    • Physical activity in the heat can be exhausting leading to dehydration.
    • In the same way, working out in the cold can decrease internal body temperature and cause shivering as a result of the body’s mechanism to retain heat.
  • Humidity
    • In humid conditions, evaporation is obstructed.
    • This means athletes will have a decreased level of sweating and be at risk of overheating and heat stress.
  • Wind
    • Wind chills can cause skin burning for which protective clothes that cover the skin are necessary.
  • Rain
    • Although rain can be helpful in keeping the body temperature optimum, rain often disrupts the line of vision.
    • Rain also increases risk of injury by making surfaces slippery.
  • Altitude
    • In high altitudes, the amount of oxygen becomes gradually less, making aerobic activities stressful.
    • At a standard level, altitude contributes in high performance (example: high jump)
  • Pollution
    • An obstacle for athletes living in the urban areas.
    • Reduces oxygen transport and by extension, deprives muscles of getting oxygen, making aerobic activities difficult.
    • An early morning exercise routine before the rush hours in the city can prevent detrimental effects.

Guidelines for Fluid Intake

  • Although evaporation is effective in cooling down the body, excessive sweating can lead to dehydration.
  • Guidelines for fluid intake include:
    • Hydration, every 15-20 minutes during training.
    • Drinking more water when temperatures are high.
    • For child athletes, separate guidelines for thermoregulation should be used.


  • A technique applied during training where an athlete is exposed to different climatic stressors to allow him to adapt to different conditions.
  • An athlete’s body becomes tolerant to changes in temperature, humidity, altitude and other environmental factors.