Stay Cool For Better Exercise Performance and Safety
As the temperature rises so too does the risk for exercise related heat stroke and performance drop. The human body doesn’t perform optimally when it becomes too hot. New research shows that using cooling techniques such as ice vests or cold water bathing/applications before and/or during workouts increases performance. Your body requires significant energy and blood flow to keep your body from overheating. Any external assistance with the cooling process provides the body with additional energy and blood flow to exercising muscles. Various cooling methods were studied including the use of cooling vests and cold packs, consumption of cold water or ice slurries, immersion in a cold water bath or a combination. Researchers also studied the effects on performance comparing pre-exercise applications vs. during exercise applications. Researchers found while pre-exercise and during exercise applications of cold increased performance, a combination of the two worked best. One of the most effective applications was wearing an ice chest during exercise along with a combination of pre-exercise techniques. Doing so improved athletic performance by close to 7 percent. In addition to the increased performance, cooling techniques reduce potential for heat stroke – a very common side effect of exercise, especially in the summer heat.
Source: British Journal of Sports Medicine, online April 19, 2014.
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