Effects of endurance fitness on responses to cold water immersion
The purpose of this study was to determine if the changes in selected blood hormones and substrates, metabolic rate, and rectal temperature (Tre) in nine males after immersion in 10 degrees C water, while clad in standard flight suits, were related to the level of aerobic fitness. Fitness was evaluated by the blood lactate response to submaximal exercise. Immersion time (IT) was defined as the time required for a 1 degrees C decrease in Tre and averaged 38.5 (range: 21-62) min. Metabolic rate increased 3.4 times the resting rate. Lactate, free fatty acids, triiodothyronine and thyroxine increased by 81%, 38%, 11%, and 8%, respectively, in contrast to insulin which decreased by 32%, with all changes being statistically significant (p less than 0.05). Glucagon increased slightly but not significantly (p = 0.11) while glucose levels did not change. The IT was correlated directly with a measure of aerobic fitness, with relative body fat, and with the T3 levels postimmersion (p less than 0.05). The results suggest that the aerobic fitness level can significantly influence the cooling rate during water immersion.