Cool it: the science behind cooling for exercise recovery

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Recovery is an important component of any training programme, enabling the repair of muscle fibres and replenishment of muscle glycogen. But, recovery takes time. Athletes training and competing frequently can compromise their sporting performance or reduce their capacity to train as a result of the stress caused by each individual training bout. Inadequate time for recovery between bouts of exercise can lead to injury or a downward spiral into overreaching or overtraining. Some look for ways to promote the right conditions for recovery, or speed up or short cut the recovery required. Recovery cooling is a strategy that has been used by many, without much understanding of the processes involved – namely, providing improved functional recovery by reducing muscle blood flow and tissue temperature, reducing inflammation as well as perceived muscle soreness. But there is a running debate about the long-term use of cooling for recovery, safe use of cooling interventions and whether it is advantageous for training adaptations. Here, I unpick the latest scientific evidence and expert guidance.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
VolumeMarch/April 2022
Specialist publicationFitpro
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2022


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