More and more high end athletes are pre-cooling before their sport as research continues to be done on the enhanced performance benefits one receives. When conditioning/training the body’s central organs (specifically the liver, kidneys and intestines) rise significantly in temperature and can often times exceed 101 degrees. This causes water and blood to leave the muscles and race to the skin in an attempt to cool the individual down which will lead to fatigue as it depletes the muscles of oxygen and dehydrates them. For most athletes they reach this high temperature after just 20 to 30 minutes into their exercise however research shows that cooling beforehand can delay this process significantly.
Athletes across many sports are finding the benefits in pre-cooling and the academic research supports their notion. According to Saarland University in Germany pre-cooling can effectively enhance endurance performance and Stanford University goes further by saying athletes who pre-cool can perform at their highest level, 10 to 20 percent longer than those who don’t. At an age when athletes are looking for even the slightest edge many are now turning to pre-cooling as a legal solution.
The technology and products once only used by the high end athletes is finally making its way to the mainstream fitness market and the research is catching on. No longer are professional teams the only athletes taking advantage of pre-cooling for enhanced performance as many regular gym goers are getting the most out of their workouts by wearing a cooling vest for both pre-cooling and during exercise cooling. According to Whitelands College in the UK cooling during exercise increased the time taken to reach volitional exhaustion by 13.5%. This process is allowing the individual to sustain higher exercise intensity and allows a greater rate of heat storage, with the effect of reducing the rate of rise in core temperature according to the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Research is continuing to be done as athletes want to perform at their highest level and will always look for an edge over their competition. The idea of pre-cooling is one positive influence that the everyday fitness professional can gain from the athletes we hold in such high regard.