Athlete and practitioner prevalence, practices, and perceptions of passive heating in sport

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    Recent research into passive heating has shown that it can enhance performance when used as; a stimulus for heat acclimation, part of regular training, or during a warm-up. However, this research is contradictory to established practices such as ice baths in the case of recovery. The current usage and understanding of passive heating within sport is unknown. This study aimed to establish the current prevalence, practices and perceptions of passive heating from athletes and sport science practitioners within sport using an online survey. Of the 343 respondents, 62% of athletes and 69% of practitioners reported using passive heating within their sport, with a greater prevalence amongst combat sport athletes or athletes competing at a higher standard (p < 0.05). The most commonly reported purpose of engaging in passive heating for athletes was recovery (66%), and for practitioners was heat acclimation (64%). Most athletes previously engaging in passive heating perceived it to be beneficial for its intended purpose (86%), providing anecdotal evidence to support its use where there currently is no scientific evidence. Moreover, transient negative consequences, such as dizziness or fatigue, were experienced by 55% of athletes highlighting the potential detrimental effects passive heating could have on training or performance that should be considered by athletes and practitioners. Therefore, this survey establishes key differences between scientific understanding and sporting practices whilst identifying areas of future development for the use of passive heating within sport.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)329-338
    Number of pages10
    JournalSport Sciences for Health
    Issue number1
    Early online date26 Apr 2022
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

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    • Heat
    • Hot water immersion
    • Sauna
    • Recovery
    • Acclimation
    • Survey


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