Exercise and Environmental Physiology
Exercise and changes in environmental conditions place stress on the body, triggering physiological responses. Studying the mechanisms of heat, cold and altitude acclimation provide insight into the body’s ability- or inability – to induce and sustain internal adaptations. Dr. Minson’s team uses a state-of-the-art environmental chamber to simulate exposure to various environmental conditions. By pairing exercise with environmental stress in healthy populations, we can test the limits of physiological adaptation. For example, recent research in our lab has shown that exercise performance in highly trained athletes can be improved following a period of heat acclimation, even when exercise is performed in a cool environment. This work also has implications for patient populations, in which they don’t tolerate changes in environmental conditions. Finally, it is possible that exposure to environmental challenges may cause adaptations in patients that improve their health or allow them to gain the most benefit from exercise. This is an exciting area of research that is relatively unexplored.