The performance of intense exercise in a tropical climate is associated with limited exercise capacity due to thermal strain. This limitation is exacerbated in sports requiring full protective equipment. Research evidence suggests disturbances in cognitive function due to thermal discomfort and/or protective equipment (e.g., helmets), and thus sports that require skills in decision-making, fast reaction times, precision, and/or inhibition can be greatly affected. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of countermeasures on the psychological and physiological responses in young international fencers wearing full protective equipment during an ecological fencing task. Nine young international fencers performed an aiming task in tropical conditions (1) without cooling interventions and (2) with cumulative cooling interventions (i.e., pre+percooling and head+torso). Participants completed a battery of cognitive (i.e., simple and choice reaction times, Stroop test), affective (i.e., PANAS), and perception (i.e., thermal environment, Feeling Scale, rating of perceived exertion) tests in each session, and their heart rate, skin temperature, and fencing performances (i.e., execution time and total score) were checked at several time points. Although the results revealed no differences in the perception of the thermal environment or the cognitive and affective scores, the cooling interventions seemed to improve movement precision during the fencing task and limit the decrease in pleasurable feelings related to the physical task. This study suggests that attentional resources are more available with cumulative cooling interventions, which leads to better performance during an ecological fencing task in tropical conditions.
Collado, Aurélie; Robin, Nicolas; Sinnapah, Stéphane; Rosnet, Elisabeth; Hue, Olivier; and Coudevylle, Guillaume R.
"The Combination of Cooling Techniques in a Tropical Environment Improves Precision Performance in Young International Fencers,"
Journal of Human Performance in Extreme Environments: Vol. 18
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/jhpee/vol18/iss1/3