Optimal Performance in the Cold
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- Institutt for biologi 
The growth of activity in the petroleum industry and traditions of outdoor activities in the high north makes cold exposure an increasingly important factor in Scandinavia and other northern regions. The environmental conditions in the high north therefore offer challenges to maintaining human safety, performance and comfort. We therefore need to acquire better knowledge of how such conditions affect specific human performance in realistic occupational and sport scenarios. The aim of this series of studies was to gain knowledge on how cold environmental conditions can affect human performance, in both professional activities and winter sports. The first part focuses on how ambient temperature affects manual performance in petroleum workers who wear recommended protective clothing. The second focuses on how ambient temperatures affect the performance of athletes wearing cross-country ski clothing, with special focus on how cold affects upper body performance in cross-country skiers. This thesis has generated new knowledge of how environmental conditions affect manual performance in the petroleum industry. It demonstrated that manual performance was reduced at ambient temperatures of -5°C and lower, when current protective clothing was worn. It has also extended our knowledge of the identity and extent of physiological factors that reduce the performance of cross-country skiers during cold exposures. It demonstrated that optimal endurance performance was achieved in the range of -4°C to 1°C when cross-country ski clothing was worn and that cold exposure reduced power output and distance covered in a cross-country endurance test. It also found that repetitive upper-body sprint performance was reduced under both moderate and cold condition, but the reduction was more pronounced in the cold. The results of these studies have practical implications for the development of improved guidelines and requirements for work and physical performance in the cold. It adds new scientific results that are of importance for the development and improvement of protective clothing for optimal performance in both occupational and sports activities in the high north.