We’re saying you should try it, but you probably want to know what is first, right? Pre-cooling is pretty much just as it sounds. It’s all about lowering the body’s core temperature through heat removal immediately before a workout. Because the amount of heat stored in your body will limit the duration of exercise at a given intensity, you’ll exercise more efficiently if your body’s temperature starts from a lower baseline.
Think about it this way: Exercise causes your body’s temperature to rise. The harder you work, the more rapid this rise will be. That is where pre-cooling comes into play. Pre-cooling allows you to start exercising with as cool a body temperature as possible.
When you run or exercise on a hot day, your body must cope with both the heat of your environment and the heat produced by your muscles. Over two-thirds of the energy produced by your muscles is lost as heat. When it’s hot, your body automatically tries to cool you down by sending more blood to your skin. This results in less blood flowing to your acting muscles. Pre-cooling helps reduce the amount of blood sent to your skin, meaning more oxygen-rich blood can flow to your muscles. This helps lower your heart rate and improve endurance.
3 Pre-Cooling Techniques to Help Boost Your Performance this Summer:
Cooling VestGenerally worn on the outside of your clothing and available in a few different designs, cooling vests and jackets help prevent heat exhaustion and overheating by keeping your core body temperature lower. Evaporative cooling vests are one of the most popular styles. As the cool water in the fabric interacts with sweat, the water slowly evaporates, providing a cooling effect.
Applying Ice to Skin
Applying ice to your body will drastically reduce your body’s core temperature before a workout. For maximum effect, ice should ideally be applied to areas with high blood flow, such as your neck or between your thighs. Note: Applied incorrectly, ice may cause frostbite and damage to the delicate tissues of the skin. So be sure to have a layer of material between you cold source and your skin. Doctors do not recommend icing your skin for longer than 20 minutes.
Taking a cold shower or bath before a workout can help reduce the risk of your body's core temperature rising too quickly. Bonus: showering pre-workout also helps keep the sweat from your future workout clean, mitigating the risk of acne or fungi.
We think these pre-cooling tactics may be helpful for exercise enthusiasts and athletes competing in hot or humid conditions. The cooling relief may not last your whole workout, but you will feel cooler and perform better, especially in the beginning—and who wouldn’t want that? Give these techniques a try and let us know what works best for you!