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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2008 Jul;105(1):37-43. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01084.2007. Epub 2008 Apr 24.

The effectiveness of hand cooling at reducing exercise-induced hyperthermia and improving distance-race performance in wheelchair and able-bodied athletes.

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Research Institute for Health and Social Change, Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, MMU Cheshire, Alsager, UK.


The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of reducing core temperature in postexercise hyperthermic subjects and to assess if hand cooling (HC) improves subsequent timed distance performance. Following a detailed measurement check on the use of insulated auditory canal temperature (T(ac)), eight wheelchair (WA) athletes and seven male able-bodied (AB) athletes performed two testing sessions, comprising a 60-min exercise protocol and 10-min recovery period, followed by a performance trial (1 km and 3 km for WA and AB, respectively) at 30.8 degrees C (SD 0.2) and 60.6% (SD 0.2) relative humidity. In a counterbalanced order, HC and a no-cooling condition was administered during the 10-min recovery period before the performance trial. Nonsignificant condition x time interactions for both WA (F(15,75) = 1.5, P = 0.14) and AB (F(15,90) = 1.2, P = 0.32) confirmed that the exercise-induced changes (Delta) in T(ac) were similar before each intervention. However, the exercise-induced increase was evidently greater in AB compared with WA (2.0 vs. 1.3 degrees C change, respectively). HC produced DeltaT(ac) of -0.4 degrees C (SD 0.4) and -1.2 degrees C (SD 0.2) in comparison (WA and AB, respectively), and simple-effects analyses suggested that the reductions in T(ac) were noteworthy after 4 min of HC. HC had an impact on improving AB performances by -4.0 s (SD 11.5) (P < 0.05) and WA by -20.5 s (SD 24.2) (P > 0.05). In conclusion, extraction of heat through the hands was effective in lowering T(ac) in both groups and improving 3-km performance in the AB athletes and trends toward positive gains for the 1-km performance times of the WA group.

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