The effect of ice ingestion on female athletes performing intermittent exercise in hot conditions

Matthew Robert Zimmermann, Grant Justin Landers
European Journal of Sport Science 2015, 15 (5): 407-13
Studies have reported the benefits of pre-cooling prior to exercise in the heat for male athletes, but at this time no research has investigated female athletes. The aim of the following study was to test the effects of pre-cooling on female repeat sprint performance in hot, humid conditions; namely is ice ingestion effective in reducing core temperature (Tc) and does this reduced Tc lead to improved repeat sprint performance in female athletes? Nine female team sport athletes with mean age (21.0 ± 1.2 y), height (169.8 ± 4.1 cm) and body mass (62.3 ± 5.0 kg) participated in this study. Participants completed 72 min of an intermittent sprint protocol (ISP) consisting of 2 × 36 min halves in hot, humid conditions (33.1 ± 0.1 °C, 60.3 ± 1.5% RH) on a cycle ergometer. This was preceded by 30 min of either ice ingestion (ICE) or water consumption (CON) in a randomised order. At the end of the pre-cooling period, Tc significantly decreased following ICE (-0.7 ± 0.3 °C) compared to CON (-0.1 ± 0.2 °C; p = 0.001). Tc also remained lower in ICE compared to CON during the ISP (p = 0.001). Ratings of perceived thermal sensation were lower in ICE compared to CON (p = 0.032) at the beginning (p = 0.022) and mid-point (p = 0.035) of the second half. No differences in work, mean power, peak power, rating of perceived exertion, heart rate or sweat loss between conditions were recorded (p > 0.05). Ice ingestion significantly reduced female Tc prior to intermittent exercise in the heat and reduced thermal sensation; however, this did not coincide with improved performance.

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