Fitness & Health, Sport & Exercise Science

Cool hands may be the key to increasing exercise capacity

Research has shown that cooling the palms of the hands has the effect of increasing capacity for exercise as less heat is stored in the body, making it easier to work out for longer.

Scientists in the US studied the effect in a group of obese women aged 30 to 45 who were all following the same exercise programme. All were asked to work out with their hands in a palm-cooling device containing water at different temperatures.

“Obese women often complain about sweating and getting tired because they’re walking around with extra insulation,” said Stacy Sims, the study’s lead researcher and exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist at Stanford University in California. “If you can slow the rate internal temperature rises and cool someone who is obese, they don’t store as much heat and don’t feel as uncomfortable. They can do more work.”

The cooling devices cooled the palms of the hand and circulating blood, thus reducing body heat.

Sims suggested that holding a bottle of cold water may also cool palms and help exercisers feel cooler, less sweaty and less fatigued — allowing them to work out longer and make them more likely to stick with their exercise regime.

The research was presented at an American Heart Association meeting in San Diego, California.

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