European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 112, Issue 3, pp 951–961 | Cite as

The effect of post-exercise hydrotherapy on subsequent exercise performance and heart rate variability

  • Jamie Stanley
  • Martin Buchheit
  • Jonathan M. Peake
Original Article

Abstract

We investigated the effect of hydrotherapy on time-trial performance and cardiac parasympathetic reactivation during recovery from intense training. On three occasions, 18 well-trained cyclists completed 60 min high-intensity cycling, followed 20 min later by one of three 10-min recovery interventions: passive rest (PAS), cold water immersion (CWI), or contrast water immersion (CWT). The cyclists then rested quietly for 160 min with R–R intervals and perceptions of recovery recorded every 30 min. Cardiac parasympathetic activity was evaluated using the natural logarithm of the square root of mean squared differences of successive R–R intervals (ln rMSSD). Finally, the cyclists completed a work-based cycling time trial. Effects were examined using magnitude-based inferences. Differences in time-trial performance between the three trials were trivial. Compared with PAS, general fatigue was very likely lower for CWI (difference [90% confidence limits; −12% (−18; −5)]) and CWT [−11% (−19; −2)]. Leg soreness was almost certainly lower following CWI [−22% (−30; −14)] and CWT [−27% (−37; −15)]. The change in mean ln rMSSD following the recovery interventions (ln rMSSDPost-interv) was almost certainly higher following CWI [16.0% (10.4; 23.2)] and very likely higher following CWT [12.5% (5.5; 20.0)] compared with PAS, and possibly higher following CWI [3.7% (−0.9; 8.4)] compared with CWT. The correlations between performance, ln rMSSDPost-interv and perceptions of recovery were unclear. A moderate correlation was observed between ln rMSSDPost-interv and leg soreness [r = −0.50 (−0.66; −0.29)]. Although the effects of CWI and CWT on performance were trivial, the beneficial effects on perceptions of recovery support the use of these recovery strategies.

Keywords

Autonomic nervous system Post-exercise recovery Time trial Water immersion 

References

  1. Al Haddad H, Laursen P, Chollet D, Lemaitre F, Ahmaidi S, Buchheit M (2010) Effect of cold or thermoneutral water immersion on post-exercise heart rate recovery and heart rate variability indices. Auto Neurosci 156(1–2):111–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnett A (2006) Using recovery modalities between training sessions in elite athletes: does it help? Sports Med 36:781–796PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bleakley CM, Davison GW (2010) What is the biochemical and physiological rationale for using cold-water immersion in sports recovery? A systematic review. Br J Sports Med 44:179–187PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bloomfield DM, Magnano A, Bigger JT Jr, Rivadeneira H, Parides M, Steinman RC (2001) Comparison of spontaneous vs. metronome-guided breathing on assessment of vagal modulation using RR variability. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 280:H1145–H1150PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Buchheit M, Gindre C (2006) Cardiac parasympathetic regulation: respective associations with cardiorespiratory fitness and training load. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 291:H451–H458PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Buchheit M, Laursen PB (2009) Treatment of hyperthermia: is assessment of cooling efficiency enough? Exp Physiol 94:627–629PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Buchheit M, Laursen PB, Ahmaidi S (2007) Parasympathetic reactivation after repeated sprint exercise. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 293:H133–H141PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Buchheit M, Peiffer JJ, Abbiss CR, Laursen PB (2009) Effect of cold water immersion on postexercise parasympathetic reactivation. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 296:H421–H427PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Buchheit M, Chivot A, Parouty J, Mercier D, Al Haddad H, Laursen PB, Ahmaidi S (2010) Monitoring endurance running performance using cardiac parasympathetic function. Eur J Appl Physiol 108:1153–1167PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Burke L (2006) Nutrition for recovery after training and competition. In: Burke L, Deakin V (eds) Clinical sports nutrition. McGraw-Hill, North Ryde, pp 415–453Google Scholar
  11. Cohen J (1988) Statistical power analysis for behavioral sciences. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, HillsdaleGoogle Scholar
  12. Crowe MJ, O’Connor D, Rudd D (2007) Cold water recovery reduces anaerobic performance. Int J Sports Med 28:994–998PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Currell K, Jeukendrup AE (2008) Superior endurance performance with ingestion of multiple transportable carbohydrates. Med Sci Sports Exerc 40:275–281PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gabrielsen A, Warberg J, Christensen NJ, Bie P, Stadeager C, Pump B, Norsk P (2000) Arterial pulse pressure and vasopressin release during graded water immersion in humans. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 278:R1583–R1588PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Garet M, Tournaire N, Roche F, Laurent R, Lacour JR, Barthélémy JC, Pichot V (2004) Individual interdependence between nocturnal ANS activity and performance in swimmers. Med Sci Sports Exerc 36:2112–2118PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Halson SL, Jeukendrup AE (2004) Does overtraining exist? An analysis of overreaching and overtraining research. Sports Med 34:967–981PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Halson S, Quod MJ, Martin DT, Gardner AS, Ebert TR, Laursen PB (2008) Physiological responses to cold water immersion following cycling in the heat. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 3:331–346PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Hautala AJ, Tulppo MP, Mäkikallio TH, Laukkanen R, Nissilä S, Huikuri HV (2001) Changes in cardiac autonomic regulation after prolonged maximal exercise. Clin Physiol 21:238–245PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Higgins D, Kaminski TW (1998) Contrast therapy does not cause fluctuations in human gastrocnemius intramuscular temperature. J Athl Train 33:336–340PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Hjortskov N, Rissén D, Blangsted A, Fallentin N, Lundberg U, Søgaard K (2004) The effect of mental stress on heart rate variability and blood pressure during computer work. Eur J Appl Physiol 92:84–89PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hopkins WG (2006) Spreadsheets for analysis of controlled trials with adjustment for a subject characteristic. Sportscience 10:46–50 (sportsci.org/2006/wghcontrial.htm)Google Scholar
  22. Hopkins WG, Marshall SW, Batterham AM, Hanin J (2009) Progressive statistics for studies in sports medicine and exercise science. Med Sci Sports Exerc 41:3–13PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Jeukendrup AE, Saris WHM, Brouns F, Kester ADM (1996) A new validated endurance performance test. Med Sci Sports Exerc 28:266–270PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lane KN, Wenger HA (2004) Effect of selected recovery conditions on performance of repeated bouts of intermittent cycling separated by 24 hours. J Strength Cond Res 18:855–860PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Mair SD, Seaber AV, Glisson RR, Garrett WE (1996) The role of fatigue in susceptibility to acute muscle strain injury. Am J Sports Med 24:137–143PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Marcora SM, Staiano W, Manning V (2009) Mental fatigue impairs physical performance in humans. J Appl Physiol 106:857–864PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Miwa C, Sugiyama Y, Mano T, Iwase S, Matsukawa T (1997) Sympatho-vagal responses in humans to thermoneutral head-out water immersion. Aviat Space Environ Med 68:1109–1114PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Montgomery PG, Pyne DB, Hopkins WG, Dorman JC, Cook K, Minahan CL (2008) The effect of recovery strategies on physical performance and cumulative fatigue in competitive basketball. J Sports Sci 26:1135–1145PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mourot L, Bouhaddi M, Gandelin E, Cappelle S, Dumoulin G, Wolf JP, Rouillon JD, Regnard J (2008) Cardiovascular autonomic control during short-term thermoneutral and cool head-out immersion. Aviat Space Environ Med 79:14–20PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Myllymäki T, Kyröläinen H, Savolainen K, Hokka L, Jakonen R, Juuti T, Martinmäki K, Kaartinen J, Kinnunen M, Rusko H (2010) Effects of vigorous late-night exercise on sleep quality and cardiac autonomic activity. J Sleep Res (Epub ahead of print). doi:10.1111/j.1365-2869.2010.00874.x
  31. Park KS, Choi JK, Park YS (1999) Cardiovascular regulation during water immersion. Appl Human Sci 18:233–241PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Parouty J, Al Haddad H, Quod M, Leprêtre PM, Ahmaidi S, Buchheit M (2010) Effect of cold water immersion on 100-m sprint performance in well-trained swimmers. Eur J Appl Physiol 109:483–490PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Peiffer J, Abbiss C, Watson G, Nosaka K, Laursen P (2009) Effect of cold-water immersion duration on body temperature and muscle function. J Sports Sci 27:987–993PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Penttilä J, Helminen A, Jartti T, Kuusela T, Huikuri H, Tulppo M, Coffeng R, Scheinin H (2001) Time domain, geometrical and frequency domain analysis of cardiac vagal outflow: effects of various respiratory patterns. Clin Physiol 21:365–376Google Scholar
  35. Perini R, Orizio C, Baselli G, Cerutti S, Veicsteinas A (1990) The influence of exercise intensity on the power spectrum of heart rate variability. Eur J Appl Physiol 61:143–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Schniepp J, Campbell TS, Powell KL, Pincivero DM (2002) The effects of cold-water immersion on power output and heart rate in elite cyclists. J Strength Cond Res 16:561–566PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Seiler KS, Kjerland GØ (2006) Quantifying training intensity distribution in elite endurance athletes: is there evidence for an “optimal” distribution? Scand J Med Sci Sports 16:49–56PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Seiler S, Haugen O, Kuffel E (2007) Autonomic recovery after exercise in trained athletes: intensity and duration effects. Med Sci Sports Exerc 39:1366–1373PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Task-Force (1996) Heart rate variability: standards of measurement, physiological interpretation, and clinical use. Circulation 93:1043–1065CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Vaile J, Halson S, Gill N, Dawson B (2008) Effect of hydrotherapy on recovery from fatigue. Int J Sports Med 29:539–544PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Vaile J, O’Hagan C, Stefanovic B, Walker M, Gill N, Askew CD (2010) Effect of cold water immersion on repeated cycling performance and limb blood flow. Br J Sports Med (Epub ahead of print). doi:10.1136/bjsm.2009.067272
  42. Versey N, Halson S, Dawson B (2011) Effect of contrast water therapy duration on recovery of cycling performance: a dose-response study. Eur J Appl Physiol 111:37–46PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Vianna LC, Oliveira RB, Silva BM, Ricardo DR, Araujo CGS (2008) Water intake accelerates post-exercise cardiac vagal reactivation in humans. Eur J Appl Physiol 102:283–288PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Yeargin SW, Casa DJ, McClung JM, Knight JC, Healey JC, Goss PJ, Harvard WR, Hipp GR (2006) Body cooling between two bouts of exercise in the heat enhances subsequent performance. J Strength Cond Res 20:383–389PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jamie Stanley
    • 1
    • 2
  • Martin Buchheit
    • 3
  • Jonathan M. Peake
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre of Excellence for Applied Sport Science ResearchQueensland Academy of SportBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Human Movement StudiesThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.Physiology Unit, Sport Science DepartmentAspire, Academy for Sports ExcellenceDohaQatar

Personalised recommendations