Sunday, March 18, 2012
It seems that my preference to exercise in cool/cold rooms (often with a fan on) has a scientific basis - and we should be advising our patients that they will get better results from exercise, if they do what they can to keep their core body temperatures from heating up too quickly. I always tell our patients that our fat layer acts a little bit like a down jacket - so it's best to try to keep the room cool when exercising.
This study used special 'hand cooling devices' designed to keep venous blood cool, by having participants keep their hands on a surface that kept a steady 61 degrees. The author admits that holding a frozen water bottle during exercise is not really an ideal substitute, but could be tried; I think that it is not optimal to expose hands to ice during exercise, and think it is safer, healthier, and more practical to just advise patients to keep the room cool. They may also cool their core temperatures by drinking cold water ahead of time, and sipping throughout exercise.