The treadmills at my gym have little fans mounted in their control panels. Ages ago, I got into the habit of holding my hands up to them while I’m doing my cool down walking. It probably looks like I’m heading into some kind of armed-criminal negotiation situation, but it feels so nice, I don’t really care.
According to this month’s issue Best Health magazine, I’m actually on to something. They’ve featured a study out of Stanford University which suggests that cooling the hands can help you exercise longer. The explaination they give is that the palmer surfaces of the hands and feet are the key radiator heaters of the body and by cooling the blood through the palms, you’re able to cool more blood returning to the heart. Furthermore, helping to avoid overheating and keeping more comfortable acts as a positive reinforcement to exercise. Neat!
They caution against using ice. It’s too cold and causes blood vessles to constrict, sending blood back into circulation before it’s had a chance to cool and suggest that holding a cold water bottle will do the trick.