Cooler hands could mean better workouts for obese women


Working up a sweat is a good thing when it comes to exercise, but being too hot may make you throw in your workout towel too soon. A study finds that holding a hand-cooling device while exercising may help obese women keep moving longer.

The small study, presented this week at the American Heart Assn.Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012 Scientific Sessions in San Diego, examined the effects on various markers of health and fitness from holding a hand-cooling device during a workout.

Two dozen women ages 30 to 45 exercised three days a week for 12 weeks. Some held a palm-cooling device chilled to about 61 degrees during cardio portions of their workouts.


The others held the same device, but theirs was at normal body temperature, 98.6 degrees. All study participants worked toward exercising for 45-minute periods at 80% of their maximum heart rates.

During the three months the group that held the cooling device cut an average of five minutes off their time during a 1.5-mile walk, reduced their waist size by an average of almost three inches, lowered their resting blood pressure and increased their exercise heart rate. Those in the control group saw no significant changes.

“Obese women often complain about sweating and getting tired because they’re walking around with extra insulation,” said lead author Stacy Sims in a news release. Sims, an exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist at Stanford University added, “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.”