Hydrotherapy and recovery from exercise induced fatigue: performance effects and mechanisms involved

Nathan Geoffrey Versey

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    Abstract

    [Truncated abstract] Post-exercise recovery is recognised as playing an important role in athletic training programs in order to minimise fatigue levels and limit performance decrements. In recent years, post-exercise hydrotherapy techniques have been increasingly used by athletes to accelerate recovery between training sessions and competitions. The published literature suggests that both cold water immersion (CWI) and contrast water therapy (CWT) are more likely to assist recovery of performance compared with hot water immersion (HWI) or thermoneutral water immersion (TWI). However, conflicting findings exist, possibly due to the methodology used. Hydrotherapy techniques may affect recovery of performance through their influence on circulation, body temperatures, and both the musculoskeletal and neural systems. Despite the widespread use of CWT by athletes, limited literature is available on its ability to influence the recovery of performance. Furthermore, the mechanisms by which hydrotherapy techniques can assist recovery are uncertain. Therefore, the purposes of the present series of studies were to investigate the effects of post-exercise CWT on recovery of high-intensity fatiguing exercise performance, determine whether a dose-response relationship exists, and to gain a greater understanding to the mechanisms by which hydrotherapy techniques can assist recovery of performance. The first two studies of the present thesis examined the effects of performing post-exercise CWT (full body excluding head and neck, alternating 1 min in 38ºC and 1 min in 15ºC water) for 6, 12 and 18 min duration on recovery of high-intensity cycling and running performance 2 h later. Both studies used a randomised, counterbalanced crossover controlled design.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2012

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