It is well-documented that acute exposure to cold negatively impacts many aspects of human performance. Such detrimental effects impact populations that frequent cold environments, such as athletes, occupational workers, and military personnel. Recently, several authors have suggested that cold acclimation may be used as an adaptive process to mitigate the detrimental effects of cold. The purpose of this PhD proiect, therefore, was to investigate the effects of cold acclimation on d fferent aspects of human performance, w•th specific attention given to exercise performance, cognitive performance, and neurophysiological function
The main findings from this work indicate that
1) Cold acclimation does not attenuate the impairment of exercise performance that is observed following acute cold water immersion 2) Cold acclimation does not negatively impact physiological or perceptual responses during 1 20 minutes of treadmill walking In a hot environment
3) Repeated cold stress without evidence of cold acclimation appears to offer no added benefit of improving cognitive performance 4) Cold acclimation may improve cognitive performance, but there is currently not enough evidence available to make any definitive conclusions
5) Cold acclimation appears to have no influence on neurophysiological function
When these findinas are interpreted as a whole, it appears that cold acclimation offers Tittle benefit to mitigating impairments or improving performance, both physically and cognitively. It is possible that the changes re ated to cold acclimation are too subtle to impact the aspects of performance that were measured in this project
Future work on this topic should explore the effects of cold acclimation on more subtle changes related to specific physiological mechanisms. However, the current practical application of inducing cold acclimation to mitigate impairments or enhance exercise or cognitive performance appears to lack sufficient supportive evidence. Thus, the current recommendations of adequate preparation for cold environments and the use appropriate thermal protection should continue to take precedence until additional research findings on this topic become available
Date of Award22 May 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Physiotherapy, Human Physiology and Anatomy

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