Numerous studies have examined the effects of water immersion temperatures on the cardiovascular system, but few have examined the effects of immersion temperature on factors relating to autonomic nervous system regulation (ANS).
Our research thus far has assessed aquatic immersion temperatures upon the cardiovascular system, peripheral circulation and core temperatures in a young college-aged group and a middle-aged group. We have found a number of important physiologic changes within the ANS that occur during immersion, with a striking decrease in sympathetic nervous system function during warm water immersion. Interestingly these changes are almost identical between age groups, with the older age group at higher baseline measurements.
These changes may well have beneficial public health implications for water use.
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