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Enhanced Decision Making and Working Memory During Exercise in the Heat With Crushed Ice Ingestion

Jacinta M. Saldaris, Grant J. Landers, and Brendan S. Lay

Purpose: To examine the effects of precooling via crushed ice ingestion on cognitive function during exercise in the heat. Methods: Eleven active men ingested either 7 g·kg−1 of crushed ice (ICE) or thermoneutral water (CON) 30 minutes before running 90 minutes on a treadmill at a velocity equivalent to 65% VO2peak in hot and humid conditions (35.0°C [0.5°C], 53.1% [3.9%] relative humidity). Participants completed 3 cognitive tasks to investigate decision making (8-choice reaction time [CRT]), working memory (serial seven [S7]), and executive control (color multisource interference task [cMSIT]) on arrival, after precooling, and after running. Results: Precooling significantly decreased preexercise core (T core) and forehead skin temperature in ICE compared with CON, respectively (T core 0.8°C [0.4°C], –0.2°C [0.1°C]; T head –0.5°C [0.4°C], 0.2°C [0.8°C]; P ≤ .05). Postrun, ICE significantly reduced errors compared with CON for CRT (P ≤ .05; d = 0.90; 90% confidence interval, 0.13–1.60) and S7 (P ≤ .05; d = 1.05; 90% confidence interval, 0.26–1.75). Thermal sensation was lower after precooling with ICE (P ≤ .05), but no significant differences were recorded between conditions for cMSIT errors, skin temperature, heart rate, or ratings of perceived exertion or perceived thirst (P > .05). Conclusions: Precooling via ICE maintained cognitive accuracy in decision making and working memory during exercise in the heat. Thus, ICE may have the potential to improve sporting performance by resisting deleterious effects of exercise in a hot and humid environment on cognitive function.

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The Effects of Crushed Ice Ingestion Prior to Steady State Exercise in the Heat

Matthew Zimmermann, Grant Landers, Karen E. Wallman, and Jacinta Saldaris

This study examined the physiological effects of crushed ice ingestion before steady state exercise in the heat. Ten healthy males with age (23 ± 3 y), height (176.9 ± 8.7 cm), body-mass (73.5 ± 8.0 kg), VO2peak (48.5 ± 3.6 mL∙kg∙min-1) participated in the study. Participants completed 60 min of cycling at 55% of their VO2peak preceded by 30 min of precooling whereby 7 g∙kg-1 of thermoneutral water (CON) or crushed ice (ICE) was ingested. The reduction in Tc at the conclusion of precooling was greater in ICE (-0.9 ± 0.3 °C) compared with CON (-0.2 ± 0.2 °C) (p ≤ .05). Heat storage capacity was greater in ICE compared with CON after precooling (ICE -29.3 ± 4.8 W∙m-2; CON -11.1 ± 7.3 W∙m-2, p < .05). Total heat storage was greater in ICE compared with CON at the end of the steady state cycle (ICE 62.0 ± 12.5 W∙m-2; CON 49.9 ± 13.4 W∙m-2, p < .05). Gross efficiency was higher in ICE compared with CON throughout the steady state cycle (ICE 21.4 ± 1.8%; CON 20.4 ± 1.9%, p < .05). Ice ingestion resulted in a lower thermal sensation at the end of precooling and a lower sweat rate during the initial stages of cycling (p < .05). Sweat loss, respiratory exchange ratio, heart rate and ratings of perceived exertion and thirst were similar between conditions (p > .05). Precooling with crushed ice led to improved gross efficiency while cycling due to an increased heat storage capacity, which was the result of a lower core temperature.