Palm cooling improves physical performance by delaying fatigue and accelerating recovery. For athletes looking for that extra edge, palm cooling provides a proven way to add additional volume, gain strength faster, and recover more quickly. Let’s explore how palm cooling contributes to athlete recovery.
Recovery benefits of palm cooling
When we work out or compete in a sport, we generate heat. The accumulation of heat in the body hinders our ability to perform, in part, by reducing our ability to contract our muscles.
Palm cooling has been found to very effectively offload heat from the body and many studies have shown that extracting this heat has a significant impact on recovery.
Some of the benefits of palm cooling for athlete recovery include: reducing core body temperature, lowering heart rate, decreasing water loss, and keeping blood lactate levels lower. These are all factors that improve an athlete’s ability to perform.
A 2009 study, Heat loss through the glabrous skin surfaces of heavily insulated, heat-stressed individuals, found that localized cooling via the palms is highly effective in accelerating recovery, even when participants were wearing heavily insulated clothing. Imagine the applications!
Game-day thermoregulation with palm cooling
In fact, the Narwhals, our palm cooling devices, are in use by professional and Division I strength and conditioning coaches to help their athletes recover quickly during games.
Take hockey players who wear 20-50 pounds of gear. During rest periods, they can quickly remove their gloves and hold a palm cooling device to experience a significant reduction in core body temperature and heart rate.
Football and basketball players can use time out periods to recover more quickly and retake the field or court better able to perform.
Why does palm cooling work?
The reason palm cooling works so well for recovery is because certain body parts facilitate thermoregulation more than others due to specialized vasculature.
These parts include the palms and soles of the feet which are known as glabrous skin and contain arterio-venous anastomoses (AVAs), which are direct connections between small arteries and small veins. It’s these AVAs that enable significant blood flow and thus facilitate heat transfer at a much faster rate than anywhere else on the body.
When we exert effort and generate heat, localized blood flow in our palms and foot soles can be up to 10X greater than other skin regions, making them the perfect radiators for athletes.
Further palm cooling reading
If you would like a deeper understanding of the science of palm cooling, here are four studies that are worth the read.
- Heat extraction through the palm of one hand improves aerobic exercise endurance in a hot environment
- Heat loss through the glabrous skin surfaces of heavily insulated, heat-stressed individuals
- Effects of heat removal through the hand on metabolism and performance during cycling exercise in the heat
- Use of Gloves to Examine Intermittent Palm Cooling's Impact on Rowing Ergometry