Post exercise hot water immersion and hot water immersion in isolation enhance vascular, blood marker, and perceptual responses when compared to exercise alone

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Abstract

Exercise and passive heating induce some similar vascular hemodynamic, circulating blood marker, and perceptual responses. However, it remains unknown whether post exercise hot water immersion can synergise exercise derived responses and if they differ from hot water immersion alone. This study investigated the acute responses to post moderate-intensity exercise hot water immersion (EX+HWI) when compared to exercise (EX+REST) and hot water immersion (HWI+HWI) alone. Sixteen physically inactive middle-aged adults (nine males and seven females) completed a randomized cross-over counterbalanced design. Each condition consisted of two 30-min bouts separated by 10 min of rest. Cycling was set at a power output equivalent to 50% V̇o2 peak. Water temperature was controlled at 40°C up to the mid sternum with arms not submerged. Venous blood samples and artery ultrasound scans were assessed at 0 (baseline), 30 (immediately post stressor one), 70 (immediately post stressor two), and 100 min (recovery). Additional physiological and perceptual measures were assessed at 10-min intervals. Brachial and superficial femoral artery shear rates were higher after EX+HWI and HWI+HWI when compared with EX+REST (p < 0.001). Plasma nitrite was higher immediately following EX+HWI and HWI+HWI than EX+REST (p < 0.01). Serum interleukin-6 was higher immediately after EX+HWI compared to EX+REST (p = 0.046). Serum cortisol was lower at 30 min in the HWI+HWI condition in contrast to EX+REST (p = 0.026). EX+HWI and HWI+HWI were more enjoyable than EX+REST (p < 0.05). Irrespective of whether hot water immersion proceeded exercise or heating, hot water immersion enhanced vascular and blood marker responses, while also being more enjoyable than exercise alone.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14600
Number of pages14
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports
Volume34
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Funder

Additional funding for consumables were provided by the British Society for Research on Aging to Charles Steward and the Society for Endocrinology to Dr Tom Cullen to support this research.

Keywords

  • blood markers
  • enjoyment
  • exercise
  • passive heating
  • physical inactivity
  • vascular responses

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