Physiological responses to incremental exercise in the heat following internal and external precooling

C A James, A J Richardson, P W Watt, O R Gibson, N S Maxwell
Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 2015, 25 Suppl 1: 190-9
Twelve males completed three incremental, discontinuous treadmill tests in the heat [31.9(1.0) °C, 61.9(8.9)%] to determine speed at two fixed blood lactate concentrations (2 and 3.5 mmol/L), running economy (RE), and maximum oxygen uptake ( V ˙ O 2 m a x ). Trials involved 20 min of either internal cooling (ICE, 7.5 g/kg ice slurry ingestion) or mixed-methods external cooling (EXT, cold towels, forearm immersion, ice vest, and cooling shorts), alongside no intervention (CON). Following precooling, participants ran 0.3 km/h faster at 2 mmol/L and 0.2 km/h faster at 3.5 mmol/L (P = 0.04, partial η(2)  = 0.27). Statistical differences were observed vs CON for ICE (P = 0.03, d = 0.15), but not EXT (P = 0.12, d = 0.15). There was no effect of cooling on RE (P = 0.81, partial η(2)  = 0.02), nor on V ˙ O 2 m a x (P = 0.69, partial η(2)  = 0.04). An effect for cooling on physiological strain index was observed (P < 0.01, partial η(2)  = 0.41), with differences vs CON for EXT (P = 0.02, d = 0.36), but not ICE (P = 0.06, d = 0.36). Precooling reduced thermal sensation (P < 0.01, partial η(2)  = 0.66) in both cooling groups (P < 0.01). Results indicate ICE and EXT provide similar physiological responses for exercise up to 30 min duration in the heat. Differing thermoregulatory responses are suggestive of specific event characteristics determining the choice of cooling. Precooling appears to reduce blood lactate accumulation and reduce thermoregulatory and perceptual strain during incremental exercise.

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