Send to

Choose Destination
J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2010 Oct;40(10):656-65. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2010.3224.

Effects of recovery method after exercise on performance, immune changes, and psychological outcomes.

Author information

Fowler Kennedy Sports Medicine Clinic, London, ON, Canada.



Randomized controlled trial using a repeated-measures design.


To examine the effects of commonly used recovery interventions on time trial performance, immune changes, and psychological outcomes.


The use of cryotherapy is popular among athletes, but few studies have simultaneously examined physiological and psychological responses to different recovery strategies.


Nine active men performed 3 trials, consisting of three 50-kJ "all out" cycling bouts, with 20 minutes of recovery after each bout. In a randomized order, different recovery interventions were applied after each ride for a given visit: rest, active recovery (cycling at 50 W), or cryotherapy (cold tub with water at 10°C). Blood samples obtained during each session were analyzed for lactate, IL-6, total leukocyte, neutrophil, and lymphocyte cell counts. Self-assessments of pain, perceived exertion, and lower extremity sensations were also completed.


Time trial performance averaged 118 ± 10 seconds (mean ± SEM) for bout 1 and was 8% and 14% slower during bouts 2 (128 ± 11 seconds) and 3 (134 ± 11 seconds), respectively, with no difference between interventions (time effect, P≤.05). Recovery intervention did not influence lactate or IL-6, although greater mobilization of total leukocytes and neutrophils was observed with cryotherapy. Lymphopenia during recovery was greater with cryotherapy. Participants reported that their lower extremities felt better after cryotherapy (mean ± SEM, 6.0 ± 0.7 out of 10) versus active recovery (4.8 ± 0.9) or rest (2.8 ± 0.6) (trial effect, P≤.05).


Common recovery interventions did not influence performance, although cryotherapy created greater immune cell perturbation and the perception that the participants' lower extremities felt better.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center