Water immersion as an aid to recovery after intermittent shuttle running exercise
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Post-exercise water immersion (WI) treatments are typically employed in sport with the expectation that this intervention can help minimise soreness and promote optimal recovery. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of different water immersion treatments following intense exercise participation typical of team sport compared to an ecologically relevant control. 40 untrained subjects completed a 90 minute intermittent shuttle running protocol after which they were randomly allocated to one of 3 post-exercise water immersion interventions: (1) 12 minutes WI in standing at 12oC (2) 12 minutes WI in standing at 35oC (3) 2 minutes WI seated at 12oC or (4) an ecologically relevant control consisting of 12 min treadmill walking at 5 km·h-1. Muscle soreness, maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) of knee extensors and flexors, single-leg hop distance and indices of muscle damage (creatine kinase and myolglobin) were measured across a 7-day period from the pre-exercise state concluding at 168 hours post-intervention. A mixed model ANOVA was used to determine between-group differences for intervention and over time. All groups showed an increase in muscle soreness (between 0-72 hours (p<0.001)) and raised concentrations of biochemical markers of muscle damage (between 0-48 hours (p<0.001)) following the performance of the shuttle running protocol. A post-exercise reduction was recorded in MVC of knee extensors (11%(2)) and flexors (24%(2)) and hop test distances (8%(2)) across all groups. However, the results found no significant between-group differences for any of the measured indices at any time point (p>0.05). This study demonstrates that these WI strategies were no better than light exercise of the same duration in the facilitation of post-exercise recovery.
- Masters Degrees (Sport) 
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