Human adaptation to repeated cold immersions.

F. S. Golden*, M. J. Tipton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1. The present investigation was designed to examine human adaptation to intermittent severe cold exposure and to assess the effect of exercise on any adaptation obtained. 2. Sixteen subjects were divided into two equal groups. Each subject performed ten head‐out immersions; two into thermoneutral water which was then cooled until they shivered vigorously, and eight into water at 15 degrees C for 40 min. During the majority of the 15 degrees C immersions, one group (dynamic group) exercised whilst the other (static group) rested. 3. Results showed that both groups responded to repeated cold immersions with a reduction in their initial responses to cold. The time course of these reductions varied, however, between responses. 4. Only the static group developed a reduced metabolic response to prolonged resting immersion. 5. It is concluded that repeated resting exposure to cold was the more effective way of producing an adaptation. The performance of exercise during repeated exposure to cold prevented the development of an adaptive reduction in the metabolic response to cold during a subsequent resting immersion. In addition, many of the adaptations obtained during repeated resting exposure were overridden or masked during a subsequent exercising immersion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-363
Number of pages15
JournalThe Journal of Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 1988


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