Practicing physical activity in a hot and humid climate (HHC) is becoming increasingly common due to anthropogenic climate change and the growing number of international sports events held in warm countries. The aim of this study was to understand the physiological and psychological effects of breathing two air temperatures during cycling exercise in HHC. Ten male athletes performed two sessions of exercise in HHC (T°: 32.0 ± 0.5 °C, relative humidity: 78.6 ± 0.7%) during which they breathed hot air (HA, 33.2 ± 0.06 °C) or temperate air (TA, 22.6 ± 0.1 °C). Each session was composed of 30 min of pre-fatigue cycling at constant intensity, followed by a 10 min self-regulated performance. During pre-fatigue, TA induced a better feeling score and a lower rating of perceived effort (respectively, +0.9 ± 0.2, p
< 0.05; 1.13 ± 0.21; p
< 0.05) with no changes in physiological parameters. During performance, oxygen consumption and mechanical workload were increased by TA (respectively, +0.23 ± 0.1 L min−1
< 0.05 and +19.2 ± 6.1 W, p
< 0.01), whereas no significant differences were observed for psychological parameters. Reducing the breathed air temperature decreased the discomfort induced by HHC during exercise and increased the performance capacity during self-regulated exercise. Thus, breathed air temperature perception is linked to the hardship of training sessions and directly contributes to the performance decrease in HHC.
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