Research scientist and exercise physiologist at Stanford University School of Medicine Stacy Sims ran this study and got some pretty amazing results. “If you think about adipose fat tissue, it’s a great insulator. For people who are obese, that means they often get too hot while exercising,” Sims said. Her goal was to see if cooling the palms of the women participating in the study would help them overcome fatigue and overheating while they were exercising. Professional athletes currently use the same palm cooling device that was used in the study. She chose to test this theory on obese women because she found they tend to abandon workouts due to overheating and fatigue.
Within the study, 24 women, ages 30 to 45 were evaluated. None of the participants had a history of long-term exercise and all of them were obese with a BMI between 30 and 35. The women were broken into two groups. Both groups used the cooling device, but only one group had cool water in their device. The other group’s devices held water that was body temperature. The groups did three exercise sessions per week for a total of 12 weeks. The sessions were broken down to include 10 minutes of body weight exercise, 25 to 45 minutes of walking on the treadmill while holding the cooling device followed by 10 minutes of core exercises. On the first and last day of the study there was a timed 1.5 mile walk. The group that used the devices with cool water managed to trim over five minutes off their time for the 1.5 mile walk, took more than two inches off their waist and lowered their blood pressure.
Surprisingly, the group that had body temperature water in their cooling devices didn’t show any substantial changes in any of the measures. Another observation for the study is that the group with the cool water stuck with the program more.
“The controls dropped out early, and skipped a lot of sessions,” Sims noted. Sims does want to extend the study to more women but it’s simple to replicate the process without buying extra equipment. Simply freeze two bottles filled with water and hold them while working out. A simple solution like this could go a long way toward encouraging obese women, or all women, to stick with their workouts which can aid in weight loss.