Make your gym session longer and less exhausting by keeping your hands cool A good workout involves a good sweat. But if your body gets overheated easily and you tend to throw in the towel too early, a new study suggests that cooling your hands may keep you working out harder, for longer.
In the findings, the researchers tested two dozen obese women aged 30 to 45, who exercised three days every week for 12 weeks.
Some held a device chilled to about 61 degrees F (16 degrees C) in their palms during cardio portions of their workouts. The others held the same device, but theirs was at normal body temperature, 98.6 degrees F, or 37 degrees C.
Study participants worked toward exercising for 45-minute periods at 80% of their maximum heart rates. While the study was small, the findings suggest that cool hands helped exercisers feel better, less sweaty and exhausted, which allowed them to work out longer and harder, and stick to their exercise routines.
Core cooling has been used for years by elite athletes, write fitness researchers, and “it does seem to help improve their performance and reduce muscle soreness.” But research on the effects of cooling on average gym-goers has been mixed. Plus, while elite athletes can push through the discomfort of being hot and tired, for novice and overweight exercisers, this can be especially off-putting.
“Obese women often complain about sweating and getting tired because they’re walking around with extra insulation,” said lead author of the report, Stacy Sims, in a news release. Sims, an exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist at Stanford University in the US added, “If you can slow the rate at which 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 device used in the study is called the Avacore Rapid Thermal Exchange, which, priced at about $4,000 is beyond the reach of many exercisers. Other cooling options cited by the researchers include holding bottles of cold water to cool your palms, or drinking an icy cold drink and holding the frozen bottle while you work out.