Elisabeth J. Dichiara, Chris E. Colborn, Steve R. Soltysiak, Alex CS Shefflette, Neel L. Patel, Alexandria C. Vanhoover, John F. Caruso. University of Louisville, Louisville, KY.

BACKGROUND: Palm cooling has proven beneficial to health and exercise performance, yet an optimal temperature has yet to be identified. METHODS: To identify a palm cooling temperature that offers optimal thermal and perceptual responses, twelve women and eight men did three multi-stage rowing ergometry workouts. In a randomized sequence, and as they wore fabricated palm cooling gloves equipped with a nylon mesh pouch for workouts, gel packs at one of three average temperatures (10.6, 12.6, or 14.9o C) were inserted into the pouches. Auditory canal, as well as left hand, temperatures (AUDT, LHT) were collected before, during and after workouts. In addition, rate of perceived exertion (RPE) was obtained midway, and at the end of workouts. Dependent variables were examined with three-way (condition, gender, time) ANCOVAs, with repeated measures for condition and time. Within-subject contrasts were our post-hoc, and alpha = 0.05 denoted significance. RESULTS: With statistically similar distances rowed among the conditions, AUDT results included three significant condition x time, interactions. Post-hoc analyses showed 12.6 > 10.6o C after the first and third stages, as well as at ten minutes post-exercise. In addition, 14.9 and 12.6 > 10.6o C after the fourth rowing stage and 15 minutes post-exercise. Finally, 12.6 > 14.9 and 10.6o C after stage eight. LHT results included four significant condition x time interactions. Post-hoc analysis showed 10.6 > 12.6 and 14.9 o C after stage four, as well as at ten-, 15- and 20-minutes post-exercise. RPE results were not significant. CONCLUSIONS: Since high LHT values denote greater heat loss through the palm of the hand, 10.6o C had the most benefit. Greater heat losses at that temperature may explain lower AUDT values produced by that condition.

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