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Skin temperature changes after exercise and cold water immersion



The study aimed to investigate the change in the skin temperature after exercise-induced delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and after cold water immersion during a recovery period.


Randomized controlled trial. Thirty-nine participants were randomly divided into four groups: group 1 (G1) which performed aerobic exercise; group 2 (G2) only performed plyometric exercise; group 3 (G3) was submitted to plyometric exercise and cold water immersion (CWI) protocol; and group 4 (G4) was the non-exercised control group. Skin temperature (TsK) was collected in two regions of interest (forehead and anterior thigh) at rest (T-rest), immediately after exercise (T0), 10, 20, and 30 min (T10, T20, and T30), and 24 and 48 h (T24 and T48) after exercise using an infrared camera. In addition, isometric knee extension strength and DOMS were assessed at times T-rest, T0, T24, and T48 for all groups.


A higher skin temperature was indicated in the anterior thigh muscles that performed plyometric exercise (G2). This thermographic change was accomplished by a decrease in the knee extensor strength immediately after performing exercises. In addition, it seems clear from our data that CWI was effective in reducing Thigh’s TsK until 30 min after exercise, but had no effect on the Thigh’s TsK 24 and 48 h after exercise. CWI attenuated pain inducted by muscle compression 48 h after plyometric exercise.


This paper presents evidence that plyometric anaerobic exercise leads to a higher skin temperature on the exercised muscle groups than aerobic exercise and that the application of CWI has no influence on muscle temperature 24 h after exercise while minimizing DOMS and the deficit of isometric force.

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The National Research Council—CNPq (Brazil), which funded this research project.

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Correspondence to José Jamacy A. Ferreira.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical Standards of the institutional or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or compatible ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in this study.

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Silva, Y.A., Santos, B.H., Andrade, P.R. et al. Skin temperature changes after exercise and cold water immersion. Sport Sci Health 13, 195–202 (2017).

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  • Skin temperature
  • Infrared thermography
  • Cryotherapy
  • Exercise
  • Delayed onset muscle soreness