The effects of precooling on thermoregulation during subsequent exercise in the heat

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Bolster, Douglas R.
Costill, David L.
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Thesis (M.S.)
School of Physical Education
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The purpose of this study was to lower body core temperature prior to a simulated portion of a triathlon (swim-15min; bike-45min) and examine whether precooling could attenuate thermal strain and increase subjective exercise tolerance in the heat. Six endurance trained triathletes (mean ± SE, 28 ± 2 yr, 8.2 ± 1.7 % body fat) completed two randomly-assigned trials, one week apart. The precooling trial (PC) involved lowering body core temperature (-0.5°C) in water prior to swimming and cycling. The control trial (CON) was identical except no precooling was performed. Water temperature and environmental conditions were maintained at -25.6°C and -26.6°C/60% RH respectively, throughout all testing. Mean time to precool was 31:37 ± 8:03 and average time to reach baseline temperature during cycling was 9:35 ± 7:60. Oxygen consumption (VO2), heart rate (HR), rate of perceived exertion (RPE), thermal sensation (TS), and skin (Tsk) and core (Ta) temperatures were recorded following the swim segment and throughout cycling. No significant differences in mean body (TO or Tsk were noted between PC and CON, but a significant difference (P<0.05) in T, between treatments was noted through the early phases of cycling. No significant differences were reported in HR, V02, RPE, TS or sweat rate (SR) between treatments. Body heat storage (S) was negative following swimming in both PC (92 ± 6 W/m2) and CON (66 ± 9 W/m2). A greater increase in S occurred in PC (109 ± 6 W/m2) vs. CON (79 ±4 W/m2) during cycling (P<0.05) . Precooling attenuated the rise in T,, but this effect was transient. Based on the results from this study, precooling is not recommended prior to endurance exercise in the heat.