The effect of cold water immersion on university field hockey players, using hamstring flexibility as a method of recovery
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Main Aim: To investigate whether the use of Cold Water Immersion (CWI) has an effect on recovery in hockey players by using hamstring flexibility as a measurement. It was hypothesised that CWI will lead to a greater recovery in post exercise hamstring flexibility using field hockey players when compared to no CWI. Method: The method involved quantitative research, involving Cardiff Metropolitan University Ladies First Team players (n=16; aged 19 ± 1.2 years). The study was carried out over four weeks with participants split into two groups. After one training session a week, for two weeks one group of the participants completed 10 minutes of CWI followed by Sit and Reach Test (SRT) at 30 minutes after, 24 hours after and 48 hours after. Meanwhile the second group had no CWI after training for two weeks and completed the SRT at the same time intervals. The groups then swapped for the next two weeks. Results: The results showed that there was a significant difference between the use of CWI (p<0.010) and no CWI (p<0.000) on the effect of recovery on hamstring flexibility at each time interval. This then led to further investigation to identify the recovery rate of using CWI or not on the mean Sit and Reach Test Scores (SRTS). This summarised that the use of CWI was more beneficial than not when looking at the recovery of hamstring flexibility. Conclusion: CWI was acknowledged to be most beneficial on recovering the participants hamstring flexibility on the SRT. The scores fluctuated, however at 48 hours post they returned back closer to their 30 minute post SRTS in comparison with no CWI. Therefore the hypothesis was accepted, although, with a few limitations. This is by no means the completely correct method to use. The requirement for additional research is necessary in order to find a more precise method with a valid rationale. Until then athletes and coaches will continue to use their most comfortable, and believed correct strategy.
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