The Effects of Pre-Cooling on Exercise Performance and Perceived Exertion under Moderate Environmental Conditions
Dr. Kevin Cole
Cooling the body prior to exercise under thermally stressful conditions has been shown to improve exercise performance and core thermoregulation in a number of athletic situations. Studies have investigated the effectiveness of internal and external pre-cooling methods other than a standard ice bath immersion, suggesting that similar results can be produced through use of various cooling protocols. Despite extensive research on exhaustive exercise performance in hot/humid conditions, few studies have assessed moderate environmental conditions or the effects of pre-cooling on perceived exertion. This study examined two novel and easily transportable methods of pre-cooling used under moderate environmental conditions: iced towels (external cooling) and ice slurries (internal cooling). The main experimental variables in this study were perceived exertion and distance traveled in a self-paced run as well as core temperature changes over the course of the prescribed exercise. Twelve moderately active, college-aged participants performed a ten-minute warm-up run on a treadmill after which core temperature was measured as a baseline prior to cooling. One of three pre-cooling methods was then administered over a 20-minute period: drinking room temperature water [Control], drinking an ice slurry [Internal], and drinking an ice-slurry in combination with placement of iced towels on the head, neck, and feet [Internal/External]. Over the course of the study, participants underwent each of the three cooling methods, allowing for within-subjects analysis. Core temperature was again measured following the cooling procedure and following a 15-minute run, self-paced at RPE of 15. Heart rate, speed, and current RPE were recorded throughout the 15-minute run, and total run distance was recorded at conclusion of the run.This information will be disseminated upon the completion of data collection.
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