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First Advisor

Dr. Penny Reynolds


Competitive swimmers and coaches have had varying ideas about what exercises constitute an appropriate warm-down. However, there is much agreement about what a warm-down should achieve. A good warm-down should do three things. First, a warm-down should be successful in returning the swimmer's elevated heart rate to the resting heart rate level in a relatively short period of time. Second, the warm-down should flush lactic acid out of the muscles as quickly as possible, and restore blood lactate to baseline levels. Finally the warm-down should contribute to improved athletic performances.

In this experiment, it was expected that a decreasing intensity warm-down would more gradually return the body to aerobic respiration. Although it appeared to be true (as seen in heart rate recoveries) that a decreasing intensity warm-down more gradually returned the body to resting conditions, it was not the most efficient method of recovery. The most efficient recovery was that which occurred fastest. A constant intensity warm-down appears to recover resting heart rate and lactate levels more quickly. Something to consider, though, is that perhaps the most efficient recovery is not the best for the body.

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