Physical capacities and performance for rehabilitation specialists wearing protective clothing during the COVID-19 pandemic

Darta Balcuna, Rūdolfs Cešeiko, Jeļena Reste, Darja Kaluznaja, Ivars Vanadzins, Inga Dāboliņa, Liene Siliņa, Eva Lapkovska, Laura Kalniņa, Agnese Simsone, Aivars Vētra

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The current study aimed to measure to what extent protective clothing affects energy consumption, thermoregulation and whether it affects the level of comfort during different functional positions. Nine physical therapists (mean age 30 ±3 years) participated in the study and were tested twice (firstly, wearing sportswear and, secondly, wearing protective clothing) on the incremental treadmill at three different submaximal intensities, also digital infrared thermography was applied to measure skin surface temperature. Additionally, the level of comfort while performing five functional positions was determined. Work economy increased significantly by 10% (P=0.001) using protective clothing compared to sportswear. In more demanding exertion participants wearing protective clothing exhibited an increase in oxygen uptake by 11% (P<0.001), heart rate increased by 6% (P<0.001), respiratory exchange ratio by 3% (P=0.001), and minute ventilation by 10% (P=0.002). A significant increase of skin surface temperature was observed after an incremental test in protective clothing (P=0.011). The level of comfort was significantly lower in all five functional positions with participants wearing protective clothing (P<0.001). Protective clothing can significantly affect a therapist’s physical capacities during different intensity tasks. Performing functional activities in protective clothing rather than in daily uniform is less comfortable, affects body thermoregulation and likely can cause restrictions in physical performance and quality of work.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2021
EventRSU Research week 2021: Society. Health. Welfare - Rīga, Latvia
Duration: 24 Mar 202126 Mar 2021
Conference number: 8


ConferenceRSU Research week 2021: Society. Health. Welfare
Internet address

Field of Science*

  • 3.3 Health sciences

Publication Type*

  • 3.4. Other publications in conference proceedings (including local)


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