The effects of water temperature, gender and exercise on breath holding following sudden face immersion

Power, Jonathan (2004) The effects of water temperature, gender and exercise on breath holding following sudden face immersion. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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A potential risk that workers face when commuting to offshore oil platforms is the helicopter ditching or crashing in cold ocean water and inverting. This happens if the helicopter's flotation bags fail to deploy. In this scenario a person's chance of survival appears to depend ·on their ability to make a successful breath hold swim from the sunken fuselage to the surface. Since each passenger should be wearing full body immersion suit, only the face is exposed to the cold water during a breath hold swim. As such, the two studies in this thesis examined if water temperatures (between 0°C and 20°C), gender and exercise can affect a typical sized person's maximum breath hold time (BHTmax) following a sudden facial immersion. In the studies the typical size males were significantly taller (p≤0.05) and heavier (p≤0.001) than the typical size females. The first study examined the effects of water temperature and gender on BHTmax for participants at rest with a sudden facial immersion. The second study examined the same effects on BHTmax during moderate intensity upper body exercise. For resting participants, lower water temperatures resulted in significantly shorter BHTmax and females had shorter BHTmax than males. In study 2 during moderate intensity upper body exercise, BHTmax was not affected by water temperature but males continued to have significantly longer BHTmax than females. During the exercise condition the males had a BHTmax of ~25s across all breath hold conditions, and the females had a BHTmax of ~15s across all immersion conditions. In conclusion, the effect of water temperature on breath holding is evident for resting but not in exercise conditions. Although in both studies males had significantly greater BHTmax than females, it remains to be established if this is an effect of gender or physical size.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 11279
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Department(s): Human Kinetics and Recreation, School of
Date: 2004
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Respiration; Water immersion.

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