The effect of various cold-water immersion protocols on exercise-induced inflammatory response and functional recovery from high- intensity sprint exercise

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The effect of various cold-water immersion protocols on exercise-induced inflammatory response and functional recovery from high- intensity sprint exercise

– ARBEITSPHYSIOLOGIE · JULY 2014

Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of different cold-water immersion (CWI) protocols on the inflammatory response to and functional recovery from high-intensity exercise.

Methods

8 healthy recreationally active males completed five trials of a high-intensity intermittent sprint protocol followed by a randomly assigned recovery condition: 1 of 4 CWI protocols

  • CWI-10 min × 20°C
  • CWI-30 min × 20°C,
  • CWI-10 min × 10°C,
  • CWI- 30 min × 10°C)
  • Passive rest (seated on a chair in the laboratory for 45 min)

Circulating mediators of the inflammatory response were measured pre-exercise (baseline), immediately post- exercise, and at 2, 24, and 48 h post-exercise. Ratings of perceived soreness and impairment were noted on a 10-pt Likert scale, and squat jump and drop jump were performed at these time points.

Schematic representation of relative timing of experimen- tal procedures. Muscle performance and ratings of perceived sore- ness and impairment were conducted pre-, immediately post-, and at 1, 2, 24, and 48 h post-exercise. Blood samples were taken at each time point excluding 1 h post-exercise. The exercise protocol, includ- ing warm-up and cool-down, was roughly 1 h in duration. Follow- ing a 15 min lapse in which participants returned to the laboratory, completed post-exercise testing, and changed into swim shorts, the recovery period commenced, lasting 45 min for each experimental condition (immersion time plus passive rest on a chair up to 45 min), such that the next time point was 1 h post-exercise (15 min lapse plus 45 min recovery period)
Schematic representation of relative timing of experimen- tal procedures. Muscle performance and ratings of perceived sore- ness and impairment were conducted pre-, immediately post-, and at 1, 2, 24, and 48 h post-exercise. Blood samples were taken at each time point excluding 1 h post-exercise. The exercise protocol, includ- ing warm-up and cool-down, was roughly 1 h in duration. Follow-
ing a 15 min lapse in which participants returned to the laboratory, completed post-exercise testing, and changed into swim shorts, the recovery period commenced, lasting 45 min for each experimental condition (immersion time plus passive rest on a chair up to 45 min), such that the next time point was 1 h post-exercise (15 min lapse plus 45 min recovery period)

Results

No significant differences between conditions were observed on measures of exertion during the exercise protocol or plasma cytokine concentrations at the pre-exercise time point. A significant main effect for time was observed in plasma IL-6, IL-8, and MPO concen- tration change from baseline. No other inflammatory markers showed significant changes from baseline at any time point.

 

Conclusions

The main findings of this study were that CWI following high-intensity intermittent sprint exercise does not significantly reduce plasma markers of inflammation or perceptions of soreness and impairment. Further, CWI in both cold (10 °C) and cool (20 °C) temperatures for 30 min can exacerbate the response of inflammatory markers in the blood following exercise.

The inflammatory response to intermittent sprint exercise returned to baseline by 24 h, while perceptions of soreness and impairment returned to baseline by 48 h and muscle performance remained below baseline at 48 h.

The findings suggest that CWI may be effective for restoring muscle performance in a stretch–shortening movement in the days following exercise, but does not significantly effect the restoration of muscle performance in a purely concentric movement, nor is it appropriate for short-term (<2 h) restoration of force generation

CWI does not attenuate the inflammatory response to an acute bout of normothermic high-intensity intermittent sprint exercise when compared with passive recovery. 30-min immersions to the iliac crest in both cool (20 °C) and cold (10 °C) water appear to exac- erbate specific aspects of the exercise-induced inflammatory response. Performance effects CWI used following normothermic sprint exercise are not likely a result of attenuation of the inflammatory response to this type of exercise.

 

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