Researchers at California State University, Fullerton recently conducted a study. When they splashed cold water over an athlete’s face during a hot summer day and measured their performance and corresponding body temperature. The results shine some light on whether and how one should cool oneself during exercise throughout hot summer months.
Exercising in hot weather can be a difficult and downright lethargic. The body circulatory system strains to cool itself by carrying warm blood from the core of the body to the epidermis (skin), where some heat radiates away into the surrounding air.
Pre-cooling yourself before starting a workout session on a hot sunny day. Try having a chilled drink or cooling your neck with say a cold, wet towel can improve your body’s capability to exercise. In fact, a recent study by journal Sports Medicine shows that pre-cooling can increase the body’s capability to work out in the heat by 4%. This small increase in the performance also comes with increased comfort levels during exercise.
The Experiment At Cal State
Fullerton researchers gathered 67 athletes and wired them up with temperature sensors and heart rate monitors, then required them to walk briskly for 90 minutes on a treadmill following a 5 mile run. The following scenarios were examined:
- Athletes were made to exercise without receiving any fluids at all.
- Exercise with warm drinking water every 10 minutes.
- Exercise as above with splashing chilled water over the athletes every 10 minutes.
- Finally, the athletes were given cold water to drink every 10 minutes in addition to cooling their face with chilled water.
Throughout these experiments athletes were asked how they felt. As expected they felt weakest when they did not receive any fluids at all. The runners felt tired even when they were made to simply walk, and their body temperature rose considerably from its stable level. However, when they drank cold water their heart rate was measurably lower than when they did not receive any fluid.
When water was splashed over them, athletes in the experiment felt more at ease and their body temperature was kept lower than other workout sessions as expected. Surprisingly, they did not perform better during the 5 km trial.
According to doctorate fellow of kinesiology at Cal-State Fullerton, Daniel Judelson, cooling your body with water may make you feel better which in turn helps you exercise, however, this does not equate to better athletic performance or endurance.
Therefore, if you are trying to work out on a hot summer day, and have access to cold water and drink plenty of fluids. Don’t be afraid to cool yourself with it in addition to drinking it.