Jan 29, 2015
Concentric Benefits of Cryotherapy

Earlier in 2008, Australian exercise scientists from the Australian Sport Institute, Edith Cowan University, and the University of Ballarat published “Physiological Responses to Cold Water Immersion Following Cycling in the Heat” (Halson et al), which measured the physiological and endocrine responses of 11 elite-level cyclists who underwent cold water immersion therapy (at 52°F) following a 24-hour recovery period from “intense” simulated Olympic time trials. (333)

Not surprisingly, the study found subjects’ ambient and core-body temperatures were significantly lower following cold water baths than resting alone. However, what was a surprise was that when temperatures were measured again 20 minutes later, the statistical significance was maintained and heart rate levels remained lower than anticipated. With less power exerted, it was suggested, elite athletes would be able to maintain higher levels of performance over a longer duration of time. Furthermore, all subjects reported reduced levels of fatigue and soreness and increased alertness during this period.

Halson et al concluded that while more research is needed to measure the effects of the metabolic responses on concentric activities, “the significant reductions on skin and core temperatures observed in the current study may be of particular benefit for athletes who are required to perform more than one bout of exercise in warm or hot environments within a short timeframe, or in athletes who have a sufficient break in play/activity (ie, halftime), where rapid cooling may enhance subsequent performance.” (344)

Halson et al. (2008). Physiological responses to cold water immersion following cycling in the heat. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 3, 331-346.

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