Beware of High Temperature Walks (03-14-22)

Asano and colleagues learned that walking in hot outdoor environments can harm subsequent cognitive performance indoors;  this finding supports creating more temperature controlled indoor walking areas in office complexes and similar locations.  The research team reports that “In the experiments [conducted], a total of 96 participants took a mathematical addition test in an air-conditioned room before and after walking in an actual outdoor environment. Results of the experiments showed that walking outdoors under heat-stressful conditions (UTCI ≧ 44 °C) for 15 min decreased the cognitive performance (percentage of correct answers to numbers of problems solved) by 3.6% compared with that before walking. An analysis focusing on the sleep duration showed a negative relationship between sleep duration and the decrease in cognitive performance. This tendency became particularly clear among the participants whose sleep duration was less than 5 h. The reduction of cognitive performance was more pronounced in male participants than in female participants. Sleep-deprived men who walk in a heat-stressful outdoor environment are more likely to exhibit poor cognitive performance when they return to an air-conditioned room.”

Yuki Asano, Yusuke Nakamura, Asuka Suzuki-Parker, Shohei Aiba, and Hiroyuki Kusaka.  2022.  “Effect of Walking in Heat-Stressful Outdoor Environments In an Urban Setting on Cognitive Performance Indoors.”  Building and Environment, vol. 213, 108893,