Cold drink ingestion improves exercise endurance capacity in the heat

Jason K W Lee, Susan M Shirreffs, Ronald J Maughan
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2008, 40 (9): 1637-44

PURPOSE: To investigate the effect of drink temperature on cycling capacity in the heat.

METHODS: On two separate trials, eight males cycled at 66 +/- 2% VO2peak (mean +/- SD) to exhaustion in hot (35.0 +/- 0.2 degrees C) and humid (60 +/- 1%) environments. Participants ingested three 300-mL aliquots of either a cold (4 degrees C) or a warm (37 degrees C) drink during 30 min of seated rest before exercise and 100 mL of the same drink every 10 min during exercise. Rectal and skin temperatures, heart rate, and sweat rate were recorded. Ratings of thermal sensation and perceived exertion were assessed.

RESULTS: Exercise time was longer (P < 0.001) with the cold drink (63.8 +/- 4.3 min) than with the warm drink (52.0 +/- 4.1 min). Rectal temperature fell by 0.5 +/- 0.1 degrees C (P < 0.001) at the end of the resting period after ingestion of the cold drinks. There was no effect of drink temperature on mean skin temperature at rest (P = 0.870), but mean skin temperature was lower from 20 min during exercise with ingestion of the cold drink than with the warm drink (P < 0.05). Heart rate was lower before exercise and for the first 35 min of exercise with ingestion of the cold drink than with the warm drink (P < 0.05). Drink temperature influenced sweat rate (1.22 +/- 0.34 and 1.40 +/- 0.41 L x h(-1) for the cold and the warm drink, respectively; P < 0.05). Ratings of thermal sensation and perceived exertion (P < 0.01) during exercise were lower when the cold drink was ingested.

CONCLUSION: Compared with a drink at 37 degrees C, the ingestion of a cold drink before and during exercise in the heat reduced physiological strain (reduced heat accumulation) during exercise, leading to an improved endurance capacity (23 +/- 6%).

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