Kay, D., Marino, F. E., & Taffe, D. R. (1999). Improved cycling performance in warm humid conditions following whole body precooling. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 31(5), Supplement abstract 1514.

It has been shown that endurance performance improves when both skin and core temperatures are reduced. This study investigated whether a reduction in skin temperature, without a concomitant reduction in core temperature, would improve cycling performance in warm humid conditions. Males (N = 7) performed a 30-minute self-paced cycling time trial on two occasions in warm humid conditions (31 degrees Celsius, 60% relative humidity). A normal condition served as control while precooling the skin (water immersion) by 5-6 degrees Celsius was the experimental condition.

The immersion treatment reduced skin temperature throughout the whole exercise and rectal temperature between 15 and 25 minutes in the exercise. Total body sweating was reduced while heat storage increased. Performance was significantly improved after precooling.

Implication. Cooling the skin before exercising in warm humid conditions reduces thermal strain and improves endurance performance.

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