Comparison of the Effects of Different Cold-Water Immersion Temperatures on Recovery of Muscle Force Generating Capacity and Markers of Muscle Damage in Male and Female Athletes

About the study

Despite a large body of literature on cold water immersion (CWI) and recovery, current literature has rarely considered whether female athletes respond differently to males. There are numerous physiological and anatomical differences between males and females that might result in different responses to CWI. While females have a higher body fat content than males, which might be expected to provide insulation against body heat losses, this does not fully compensate for the higher surface to mass ratio, reduced muscle mass and increased muscle blood flow, so females tend to lose heat more rapidly than males. Excessive cooling may block some of the physiological adaptations that occur during recovery which contribute to improvements in exercise performance. Thus, females may require a warmer temperature for CWI to elicit similar physiological responses seen in males.

What you are required to do

  • Complete two one-week testing weeks where you undergo CWI at either 10℃ or 20℃ after eccentric exercise
  • Perform muscular power and strength testing, blood sampling and perceptual recovery testing
  • Undergo body composition scans
  • Wear a physical activity tracking device for each 7 day testing block

Eligibility Requirements

You may be eligible to participate in this study if you are:

  • Exercise regularly (at least 3 times per week)
  • 18-45 years of age
  • Be free of lower limb musculoskeletal injury in the last 6 months
  • Females must be on oral contraceptives or, if not, they must be willing to complete a menstrual diary for 3 months prior to commencing the intervention. This is to ensure that both testing sessions occur in the follicular phase of their reproductive cycle to avoid any influence of core temperature changes that occur throughout different reproductive cycle phases.
  • You must also pass a pre-exercise safety screen that we will administer on your first visit to our facility (Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) Adult Pre-Exercise Screening System (APSS))

Benefits

  • Participants will be provided with their individual body composition scan and performance testing results, as well as a recommendation for their own individual CWI protocol.
  • Participants will receive an honorarium of $500 at the completion of the study

Contact details for more information or to register your interest

If you would like more information and/or would like to express your interest in participating please contact us: email: unisa.researchvolunteers@unisa.edu.au, ph: (08) 8302 1365.

This project has been approved by the University of South Australia’s Human Research Ethics Committee (Ethics Protocol 202430).