Influence of body composition on physiological responses to post-exercise hydrotherapy
This study examined the influence of body composition on temperature and blood flow responses to post-exercise cold water immersion (CWI), hot water immersion (HWI) and control (CON). Twenty-seven male participants were stratified into three groups: 1) low mass and low fat (LM-LF); 2) high mass and low fat (HM-LF); or 3) high mass and high fat (HM-HF). Experimental trials involved a standardised bout of cycling, maintained until core temperature reached 38.5°C. Participants subsequently completed one of three 15-min recovery interventions (CWI, HWI, or CON). Core, skin and muscle temperatures, and limb blood flow were recorded at baseline, post-exercise, and every 30 min following recovery for 240 min. During CON and HWI there were no differences in core or muscle temperature between body composition groups. The rate of fall in core temperature following CWI was greater in the LM-LF (0.03 ± 0.01°C/min) group compared to the HM-HF (0.01 ± 0.001°C/min) group (P = 0.002). Muscle temperature decreased to a greater extent during CWI in the LM-LF and HM-LF groups (8.6 ± 3.0°C) compared with HM-HF (5.1 ± 2.0°C, P < 0.05). Blood flow responses did not differ between groups. Differences in body composition alter the thermal response to post-exercise CWI, which may explain some of the variance in the responses to CWI recovery.
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