Stacy T. Sims, exercise physiologist at Stanford University, California, 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 stick with their exercise regimen.
In the study, obese women who exercised while using the AvaCore Rapid Thermal Exchange (RTX palm cooling device) improved their exercise tolerance and cardiovascular fitness. The device cooled the palms of the hand and circulating blood, thus pulling heat off the body.
"Obese women often complain about sweating and getting tired because they're walking around with extra insulation," said Sims, who led the study.
"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," added Sims.
For 12 weeks, researchers studied a group of women, 30-45 years old, 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 control group (not using the device) dropped out quite early," Sims said. "The women who had the cooling device continued to participate and didn't have an issue with attrition because they finally didn't feel uncomfortable exercising." These findings were presented at American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Scientific meeting.