How can lifeguards recover better? A cross-over study comparing resting, running, and foam rolling

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Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study is to compare the effectiveness of active recovery in form of running or foam rolling on clearing blood lactate compared to remain sitting after a water rescue.

Method

A quasi experimental cross-over design was used to test the effectiveness of two active recovery methods: foam rolling (FR) and running (RR), compared with passive recovery (PR) on the blood lactate clearance after performing a water rescue. Twelve lifeguards from Marín (Pontevedra) completed the study. The participants performed a 100-meter water rescue and a 25-minute recovery protocol.

Results

The post recovery lactate levels were significantly lower for foam rolling (4.4 ± 1.5 mmol/l, P = 0.005, d = 0.94) and running (4.9 ± 2.3 mmol/l, P = 0.027, d = 1.21) compared with resting (7.2 ± 2.5 mmol/l); there was no significant difference between foam rolling and running (P = 1.000).

Conclusions

We found that surf lifesavers clear out blood lactate more efficient when performing an active recovery protocol. Foam rolling is an effective method of increasing the rate of blood lactate clearance. These two recovery methods are also adequate for surf lifeguards as they do not interfere with the surveillance aspect of their job.

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