Department of Kinesiology

School of Health and Human Sciences

Research: Hydration, Environment, and Thermal (H.E.A.T) Stress Lab

Lab Contact

Will Adams – wmadams@uncg.edu

Overview

The focus of the Hydration, Environment and Thermal (H.E.A.T) Stress Lab is the impact of thermal stress and alteration of total body water/fluid regulation on human health and performance. The mission of the H.E.A.T Stress Lab is to enhance evidence-based clinical practice in the realm of exertional heat illness among the physically active population (athletes, soldiers and laborers). Ongoing projects are investigating the influence of habitual fluid intake on health and wellness, developing methods to attenuate thermoregulatory strain during bouts of physical activity in the heat, and examining the role of health and safety policies on preventing sudden death in sport among secondary school athletics. Recent collaborations include faculty within the Department of Nutrition, UNCG Department of Athletics, University of Connecticut, University of South Carolina and Central Michigan University.

Lines of Research

1) The influence of habitual fluid intake on health and wellness

Acutely, inadequate fluid intake has been shown to degrade performance, cognition, and exacerbate cardiovascular and thermoregulatory strain during exercise, particular in thermally stressful environments. Long-term, inadequate fluid intake is implicated in increasing the risk of urinary tract infections, kidney stones, chronic kidney disease, dysregulation of glucose/insulin sensitivity, among others. Our lab seeks to understand the role that habitual fluid intake has on health and wellness across the lifespan to gain a better understanding of factors related to habitual fluid intake. Ultimately, our goal is to identify effective strategies to enhance habitual fluid intake and improve long term health.

2) Developing methods to attenuate thermoregulatory strain during bouts of physical activity in the heat

Exertional heat stroke is in the top 3 leading causes of sudden death in sport and physical activity and is an ever-present risk in athletics, military and occupational settings. We seek to understand the influence that various factors contribute to thermal tolerance with the long-term goal of optimizing the prevention, management and care, and recovery of exertional heat stroke.

3) Examining the role of health and safety policies on preventing sudden death in sport among secondary school athletics

The implementation and adoption of evidence-based best practices has been shown to reduce the risk of death and catastrophic injury in sport. At the secondary school level, the implementation and adoption of such policies occurs at the state level, with evidence finding that states are not currently utilizing all available best practice recommendations to protect the health and safety of secondary school student athletes. In collaboration with the University of Connecticut and the University of South Carolina, our current work is focused on gaining a better understanding of policy development, implementation, and adoption at both the state and local level. Ultimately, our goal is to develop strategies that can be utilized to enhance the health and safety of secondary school student athletes during sport participation.

Equipment

The H.E.A.T Stress Lab is located within the Exercise Physiology lab at UNCG. It is equipped with a 100 ft2 environmental chamber with the capacity of testing within a range of 5-43°C and 0-95% Relative Humidity. The lab also contains the following equipment:

Equipment device name or image Purpose(s)
HP Cosmos T150 Treadmill Used to assess aerobic fitness (in conjunction with a metabolic cart and/or heart rate monitor or for training protocols.
Velotron Cycle Ergometer Used to assess aerobic fitness (in conjunction with a metabolic cart and/or heart rate monitor) or for the assessment of anaerobic power or capacity using Wingate testing. The cycle ergometer can also be used for training.
BioPac M160 Data Acquisition System Used to measure HR (3-lead ECG), rectal, esophageal and skin temperature.
Advanced Instruments 3320 Osmometer Used to measure urine, serum, and plasma osmolality.
POLAR Team Pro 2 GPS/HR System Used to measure internal (HR, HRV) and external (distance covered, velocity, acceleration, deceleration) training load metrics indoors or outdoors.
Philips Respironics Spectrum Plus Actiwatches Used as an objective measure of physical activity and sleep.
Ultralow Freezer Used for sample storage.
BodPod Used to assess body composition.
3 Metabolic Carts [2 Parvomedics & 1 Sensormedic] Used for indirect calorimetry to measure oxygen consumption (VO2) and carbon dioxide production (VCO2) in the assessment of fitness or for the assessment of basal energy expenditure at rest.
portable forceplate This portable forceplate is designed for field-based testing of postural control before and after a concussion.
Centrifuges [2 Beckman, 2 microcentrifuge] Used for sample preparation.