Cooling the palms of the hands while working out could help you stick with a physical activity program, and could help you feel cooler, less sweaty and less fatigued – potentially extending your workout time, say researchers.
Recently, a small study of obese women exercised while using the AvaCore Rapid Thermal Exchange (RTX palm cooling device). The results show that they improved their exercise tolerance and cardiovascular fitness.
The study was presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012.
Obese women who exercised with a device that cooled their hands stuck with a workout regimen longer than those without a hand cooler. The cooling devices cooled the palms of the hand and circulating blood, thus pulling heat off the body.
Stacy T. Sims, the study’s lead researcher and exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist at Stanford University notes that obese women are concerned about sweating and getting tired because they’re walking around with extra insulation.
For 12 weeks, researchers studied 24 women, ages 30 to 45, who had a body mass index between 30 and 34.9, which is considered obese. Half worked out with their hands in a cylinder containing water at 60.8 degrees Fahrenheit. The other half used the same device with water at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
Participants didn’t know the difference in their devices and did the same fitness activities, starting with push-ups, lunges and then progressing to using the treadmill, which contained the device. The goal was to increase exercise duration up to 45-minute stretches at 80 percent of their maximum heart rates.
Sims says that the women without cooling dropped out early, and the women who had the cooling device continued to participate and didn’t have an issue with leaving because they finally didn’t feel uncomfortable exercising.
Right now the device used in the study is costly, and is typically found in professional sports training facilities, clinics and hospitals, and not in general fitness centers.