Post-exercise hot water immersion induces heat acclimation and improves endurance exercise performance in the heat.Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2016 Jul; 26(7):745-54.SJ
We examined whether daily hot water immersion (HWI) after exercise in temperate conditions induces heat acclimation and improves endurance performance in temperate and hot conditions. Seventeen non-heat-acclimatized males performed a 6-day intervention involving a daily treadmill run for 40 min at 65% V̇O2max in temperate conditions (18 °C) followed immediately by either HWI (N = 10; 40 °C) or thermoneutral (CON, N = 7; 34 °C) immersion for 40 min. Before and after the 6-day intervention, participants performed a treadmill run for 40 min at 65% V̇O2max followed by a 5-km treadmill time trial (TT) in temperate (18 °C, 40% humidity) and hot (33 °C, 40% humidity) conditions. HWI induced heat acclimation demonstrated by lower resting rectal temperature (Tre , mean, -0.27 °C, P < 0.01), and final Tre during submaximal exercise in 18 °C (-0.28 °C, P < 0.01) and 33 °C (-0.36 °C, P < 0.01). Skin temperature, Tre at sweating onset and RPE were lower during submaximal exercise in 18 °C and 33 °C after 6 days in HWI (P < 0.05). Physiological strain and thermal sensation were also lower during submaximal exercise in 33 °C after 6 days in HWI (P < 0.05). HWI improved TT performance in 33 °C (4.9%, P < 0.01) but not in 18 °C. Thermoregulatory measures and performance did not change in CON. Hot water immersion after exercise on 6 days presents a simple, practical, and effective heat acclimation strategy to improve endurance performance in the heat.