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Prepping for Performance: Pre-Cooling Tips

Performance in athletics begins well before the actual competition. Everything from what you’ve eaten to how much sleep you’ve had over the last few days can have an impact on athletic performance. And most overlooked by athletes and coaches alike, pre-workout body temperature is paramount prior to competition.

According to Nike News, “Only 25% of our body's total energy goes into moving muscle. The other 75% is devoted to regulating heat.  Reducing core temperature before extended competition or activity means more energy for the activity itself.”

Studies have shown that by cooling the body prior to athletic activity, the body will take longer to reach the temperature at which overheating and fatigue set in. This can prevent heat exhaustion, EHS (Exertional Heat Stroke),  and other heat-related injuries.

Some pre-cooling tips from Andrew Hamilton, a sports science writer and lifelong endurance athlete are:

  • Ideally use a cooling jacket or, failing that, ice-packed damp towels;

  • Make a reduction in skin temperature your major goal;

  • Aim to pre-cool for 8-30 minutes during warm-ups and/or the intervals between warm-ups and competition;

  • Be sure to practice your chosen pre-cooling technique before using it in a key event.  https://www.peakendurancesport.com/endurance-training/environmental-training/exercise-heat-pre-cooling-techniques/

Pre-cooling can be incorporated into breaks of exercise, as the body continues to produce heat even after exercising has stopped. Even from a non-scientific perspective, if an athlete feels better, they will typically perform at a higher level when they become overheated. Once the body becomes overheated, peak performance becomes much more challenging.

As always, please consult your physician or athletic trainer regarding the proper pre-cooling techniques for you. Like anything, more is not always better! For more information on regulating body temperature for improved performance and safety, visit www.coolture.net.

This is the first in a series of cooling articles geared toward regulating temperature in athletics. You can also check out our articles on per-cooling (during exercise) and post-cooling. 

Luanne DiBernardo
Founding CEO

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