Really? Carrying a Cold Bottle Aids Exercise
Health experts advise Americans to exercise moderately for at least two and a half hours a week. But for those who are overweight, overheating can be a major hurdle to staying active. For some, the extra fat prevents the body from dissipating heat, causing a steep rise in core temperature that leads to quicker exhaustion.
Studies of athletes have found that wearing cooling vests or similar items during exercise can help lower the rate at which the core temperature rises, delaying fatigue, improving performance and causing less perceived effort.
Now, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have shown that the simple act of carrying a cold thermos can have the same effect in people who are overweight.
In their study, which appears in the journal Circulation, the scientists recruited obese women, ages 30 to 45, with no other health problems. The women took part in three group exercise sessions a week for three months, and held special cooling devices in their hands as they walked on treadmills and performed lunges and other exercises. In one group, the devices circulated cold water, but in the other group, the water was room temperature.
By the end of the study, those in the “cool” group had a better attendance rate than the controls — 98 percent versus 80 percent — and saw their aerobic activity progress at a greater rate. They increased their duration and speed on the treadmill, and had greater improvements in blood pressure, heart rate and waist size.
To get the same effect, try freezing a bottle of water and then holding it as you run or exercise, said Stacy T. Sims, lead author of the study.
The Bottom Line
Holding a cold thermos or bottle of water may make it easier to exercise.
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