What is heat regulation

GOOD TO KNOW | Heat regulation (SportPOST - No. 16)

Many animals are faster than humans, many are stronger, and some have more pronounced sense organs. But there is one point where people are way ahead: in their ability to regulate heat! Everyone has millions of sweat glands. In combination with little hair growth ("fur"), these offer excellent conditions for cooling: sweat is produced and evaporates through the skin in the ambient air. In this way, it is possible to counteract the increase in body temperature that inevitably occurs during physical activity. For many animals, the body temperature is the limiting factor during prolonged exertion: antelopes, for example, run very quickly for a short time. However, sooner or later the development of heat forces them to stop in order to cool off by breathing (= panting). During long periods of exertion, we humans have an immense advantage: we get the oxygen we need to provide energy through breathing. And we don't have to pant because the sweat production counteracts the rise in temperature.

The regulation of body temperature is of such enormous importance because humans can only survive at a temperature of up to 42 or 43 degrees Celsius. With more heat, proteins in the red blood cells begin to denature, irreparable damage is the result. Incidentally, the human organism has mechanisms to ensure that the temperature in the core of the body is as constant as possible, even when it is cold: the extremities are less supplied with blood, and chills and tremors in the molars sometimes cause heat to develop.

With the importance of sweat production in mind, it becomes very clear why you have to drink a lot while doing sports. Incidentally, the body's thermoregulation is clearly the most efficient variant of cooling: Throwing a bucket of water over your head is extremely pleasant, but less efficient than sweating in terms of heat regulation. The following is also noteworthy when doing intense sports: Our organism actually uses most of the energy to cool the body. This is of course even more true in the heat.