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Cold-water immersion decreases cerebral oxygenation but improves recovery after intermittent-sprint exercise in the heat

Authors

  • G. M. Minett,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Human Movement Studies, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, NSW, Australia
    2. School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Qld, Australia
    • Corresponding author: Geoffrey M. Minett, School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Victoria Park Road, Kelvin Grove, Qld 4059, Australia. Tel: +61 7 3138 0336, Fax: +61 7 3138 3980, E-mail: geoffrey.minett@qut.edu.au

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  • R. Duffield,

    1. School of Human Movement Studies, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, NSW, Australia
    2. Sport and Exercise Discipline Group, UTS: Health, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Lindfield, NSW, Australia
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  • F. Billaut,

    1. Institut National du Sport du Québec, Montréal, QC, Canada
    2. School of Sport and Exercise Science, Victoria University, Melbourne, Vic, Australia
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  • J. Cannon,

    1. School of Human Movement Studies, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, NSW, Australia
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  • M. R. Portus,

    1. Sport Science Sport Medicine Unit, Cricket Australia Centre of Excellence, Albion, Qld, Australia
    2. Praxis Sport Science, Paddington, Qld, Australia
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  • F. E. Marino

    1. School of Human Movement Studies, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, NSW, Australia
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Abstract

This study examined the effects of post-exercise cooling on recovery of neuromuscular, physiological, and cerebral hemodynamic responses after intermittent-sprint exercise in the heat. Nine participants underwent three post-exercise recovery trials, including a control (CONT), mixed-method cooling (MIX), and cold-water immersion (10 °C; CWI). Voluntary force and activation were assessed simultaneously with cerebral oxygenation (near-infrared spectroscopy) pre- and post-exercise, post-intervention, and 1-h and 24-h post-exercise. Measures of heart rate, core temperature, skin temperature, muscle damage, and inflammation were also collected. Both cooling interventions reduced heart rate, core, and skin temperature post-intervention (P < 0.05). CWI hastened the recovery of voluntary force by 12.7 ± 11.7% (mean ± SD) and 16.3 ± 10.5% 1-h post-exercise compared to MIX and CONT, respectively (P < 0.01). Voluntary force remained elevated by 16.1 ± 20.5% 24-h post-exercise after CWI compared to CONT (P < 0.05). Central activation was increased post-intervention and 1-h post-exercise with CWI compared to CONT (P < 0.05), without differences between conditions 24-h post-exercise (P > 0.05). CWI reduced cerebral oxygenation compared to MIX and CONT post-intervention (P < 0.01). Furthermore, cooling interventions reduced cortisol 1-h post-exercise (P < 0.01), although only CWI blunted creatine kinase 24-h post-exercise compared to CONT (P < 0.05). Accordingly, improvements in neuromuscular recovery after post-exercise cooling appear to be disassociated with cerebral oxygenation, rather reflecting reductions in thermoregulatory demands to sustain force production.

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