Effects of Recovery Method After Exercise on Performance, Immune Changes, and Psychological Outcomes Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • STUDY DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial using a repeated-measures design. OBJECTIVES: To examine the effects of commonly used recovery interventions on time trial performance, immune changes, and psychological outcomes. BACKGROUND: The use of cryotherapy is popular among athletes, but few studies have simultaneously examined physiological and psychological responses to different recovery strategies. METHODS: Nine active men performed 3 trials, consisting of three 50-kJ "all out" cycling bouts, with 20 minutes of recovery after each bout. In a randomized order, different recovery interventions were applied after each ride for a given visit: rest, active recovery (cycling at 50 W), or cryotherapy (cold tub with water at 10°C). Blood samples obtained during each session were analyzed for lactate, IL-6, total leukocyte, neutrophil, and lymphocyte cell counts. Self-assessments of pain, perceived exertion, and lower extremity sensations were also completed. RESULTS: Time trial performance averaged 118 ± 10 seconds (mean ± SEM) for bout 1 and was 8% and 14% slower during bouts 2 (128 ± 11 seconds) and 3 (134 ± 11 seconds), respectively, with no difference between interventions (time effect, P≤.05). Recovery intervention did not influence lactate or IL-6, although greater mobilization of total leukocytes and neutrophils was observed with cryotherapy. Lymphopenia during recovery was greater with cryotherapy. Participants reported that their lower extremities felt better after cryotherapy (mean ± SEM, 6.0 ± 0.7 out of 10) versus active recovery (4.8 ± 0.9) or rest (2.8 ± 0.6) (trial effect, P≤.05). CONCLUSION: Common recovery interventions did not influence performance, although cryotherapy created greater immune cell perturbation and the perception that the participants' lower extremities felt better.

publication date

  • October 2010