As a follow up to my previous article on the recent study by Hertfordshire University on the impact of wearing a HyperKewl cooling vest on athletic performance, I wanted to discuss one of the study’s findings as it relates to the impact of wearing a HyperKewl cooling vest on body temperature.
Some of the ways your body regulates its temperature are through blood flow and the release of heat through your skin. When you exercise, both your core temperature and skin temperature increase. Your core can release heat through your skin, but once your skin reaches a certain temperature, the skin is unable to act as a facilitator for the release of heat from your core.
Your body also uses blood flow to help regulate body core temperature. As you exercise, different parts of your body compete for the flow of blood for cooling and energy. Two key concerns for us are your core body temperature and the power output of your muscles. Each part (core and muscles) need the flow of blood to maintain optimal performance. In the battle of blood flow priorities when exercising or competing, regulating your body temperature will win out over power output to the muscles, so the hotter you get, the less blood flow to your muscles, and the lower your power output.
Wearing a HyperKewl evaporative cooling vest helps to lower your skin temperature. This has been proven in several studies. When the HyperKewl cooling vest keeps your skin temperature lower, you are able to release more heat from the core over a longer period of time. Releasing heat through your skin because it stays cooler with the HyperKewl vest means that there is less competition for blood flow between your core and muscles. As a result, your muscles get more blood flow for longer allowing you to generate a greater power output for longer. Hence, your performance improvement. You can push yourself harder, for longer with a cooling vest because the HyperKewl cooling vest allows your body to naturally cool itself. As I like to say, HyperKewl helps to supercharge your body’s natural cooling system.
During the 40 km time trial used by the study, the temperature of several parts of the body were measured. The mean body temperature was found to be significantly lower when the HyperKewl evaporative cooling vest was used (36.13C vs 37.14C).
During the 40 km time trial study, the relative performance improvement was 5.56%. Time trials went from 74:16 mins without a HyperKewl cooling vest to 70:05 mins with a HyperKewl cooling vest.
One of the key conclusions of the study was that cooling during exercise in the heat will reduce thermal strain and the rate of perceived exertion.
Please keep in my that I am trying to summarize my understanding of the report and that I would be happy to answer questions, but the research team at the University of Hertfordshire are the experts on the results.