The health benefits of passive heating and aerobic exercise: To what extent do the mechanisms overlap?

Tom Cullen*, Neil D. Clarke, Mathew Hill, Campbell Menzies, Christopher J.A. Pugh, Charles J. Steward, C. Douglas Thake

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    22 Citations (SciVal)


    Exercise can induce numerous health benefits that can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and all-cause mortality, yet a significant percentage of the population do not meet minimal physical activity guidelines. Several recent studies have shown that passive heating can induce numerous health benefits, many of which are comparable with exercise, such as improvements to cardiorespiratory fitness, vascular health, glycemic control, and chronic low-grade inflammation. As such, passive heating is emerging as a promising therapy for populations who cannot perform sustained exercise or display poor exercise adherence. There appears to be some overlap between the cellular signaling responses that are regulated by temperature and the mechanisms that underpin beneficial adaptations to exercise, but detailed comparisons have not yet been made. Therefore, the purpose of this mini review is to assess the similarities and distinctions between adaptations to passive heating and exercise. Understanding the potential shared mechanisms of action between passive heating and exercise may help to direct future studies to implement passive heating more effectively and identify differences between passive heating and exercise-induced adaptations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1304-1309
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 1 Dec 2020


    • Adaptation
    • Exercise
    • Health
    • Heat
    • Therapy


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