🔑 Key Takeaways
- Learn how your body maintains homeostasis through thermal regulation and cool down effectively through specialized vascular compartments on your palms, soles, and upper face. Skip the ice bath and opt for a cold shower for better physiological and performance benefits.
- A quick cold shower or bath before working out regulates the body temperature, sustains performance, and can increase speed or distance, but should be used appropriately to achieve optimal results.
- High muscle temperature can lead to fatigue and muscle failure, and traditional cooling methods may not be effective in preventing hyperthermia. Even non-targeted muscles can be influenced by the rise in temperature.
- While remedies like ice water or a neck towel may provide temporary relief from overheating, they do not fully cool the body. The thermoregulatory system of the body is complex and requires regulating temperature through the entire body surface.
- Rising temperature can decrease cognitive capacity and lead to dangerous hyperthermic temperature. The body has portals that can be leveraged for performance, but it's important to recognize and prevent heat stroke during physical activity.
- Male mammals use limited surface areas without fur to lose heat. Proper cooling of skin surfaces can improve human performance during exercise. Wearing thin protectors on hands and feet can maximize heat loss.
- Cooling the brain through the non-hairy skin above the beard line can decrease inflammation and blood flow, benefiting athletes during anaerobic exercises and potentially offsetting physical damage. However, the mechanism still requires more investigation.
- Cooling the palms for three minutes can enhance workout performance and reduce muscle soreness, allowing for more workouts. Cooling technology can be a game-changer for athletes looking to improve their workout performance and reduce recovery times.
- TyroBio's CoolMitt technology enhances performance and is in beta testing with professional sports teams and the military. The wearable device fits under personal protective gear, making it useful for workers in high-temperature environments. Sign up for alerts on the company's website.
- The CoolBot is a technology that cools the body temperature through the hands, enhancing performance. Even individuals can use a crude version with a frozen packet or juice can, taking care not to seal up heat loss or using water that is too cold.
- To cool down efficiently, use cooling methods like cold packs on the face, palms, and soles of the feet as they have larger surface areas for radiating heat. Cooling the radiating surfaces is more efficient than standard treatments.
- When dealing with hypothermia, heat up extremities and torso using heated limbs. This method pulls blood into the limb, effectively warming it and the whole body in a science-backed solution for quick and effective warming. Also, warm liquids should be provided, but not too hot.
- Palmer cooling uses a dog's instinctual behavior to cool them down by targeting the AVS found in their paws and palms. Warming up is also important for flexibility, not just raising body temperature. Core body temperature can be measured through a salvage seal or tympanic temperature.
- Decreasing heat loss and proper ventilation in helmets and gloves, along with cooling workouts, can enhance performance without the negative effects of anabolic steroids. It's crucial to prioritize safe and natural methods for improving athletic performance.
- Steroids only show a marginal increase in bench press performance, while paying attention to nutrition, sleep, and other factors such as temperature has a more significant impact. Military special operators and black bears are interesting groups to study for their ability to perform under unpredictable conditions.
- Brown fat helps animals produce heat during hibernation, and humans also have brown fat that can be stimulated by ice packs, but caution should be exercised to avoid shivering and activation of brown fat.
- The amount of brown fat in one's body varies, while cold temperatures activate the sympathetic nervous system causing brain freeze. Fidgeting burns significant calories, and preliminary data suggests heat devices alleviate migraines.
- Small movements like tapping your foot can produce a lot of heat. Energy drinks may hinder muscular performance and affect the adenosine system. Keeping the temperature cool while sleeping can improve muscle oxygenation. Muscle hypoxia releases adenosine, increasing blood flow to muscles.
- Establish a consistent sleep schedule, avoid screens before bedtime, relax before sleeping, regulate temperature with a cooler environment and try sleeping with a limb out to help regulate body temperature. Wearing socks for toe-sensitive spots can enhance thermal comfort.
📝 Podcast Summary
The Key to Mental and Physical Performance: Controlling Your Core Body Temperature
Learning to control your core body temperature can greatly increase both mental and physical performance, regardless of the environment that you're in. Dr. Craig Heller explains how thermal regulation works in the body to maintain homeostasis for healthy neurons and organ function. Contrary to popular belief, putting a cold pack on your head or neck is not the optimal way to cool down quickly and can actually lead to hyperthermia. Instead, specialized vascular compartments on the palms, soles, and upper face are the primary avenues for heat loss. While whole body immersion in cold water like an ice bath may provide a shock of adrenaline, it does not necessarily translate into any physiological or performance benefits compared to a cold shower.
Benefits of Taking a Cold Shower or Bath before Exercise
Taking a cold shower or bath before aerobic activity helps increase the body's capacity to absorb excess heat. This helps sustain the performance and increase speed or distance of the workout. It only takes a few minutes to extract the heat from the body and the core temperature goes down, preventing heat loss. For anaerobic athletes like strength trainers, the temperature increase is local, and the body's core temperature does not rise as fast. Taking a cold shower or bath is beneficial for regulating body temperature and improving athletic performance, but its benefits depend on how one uses it. It could increase speed or distance, but some athletes use it to go faster, not necessarily further.
The Impact of Muscle Temperature on Fatigue
Muscles produce heat during anaerobic activity and can reach hyperthermic limits, which can lead to muscle fatigue. The rise in temperature of the muscle is the most immediate factor that causes muscle fatigue. When the muscle temperature gets above 39 or 39 and five, it can shut off the enzyme required for fuel delivery and supply to the mitochondria, leading to muscular failure. Although muscles have fail-safe mechanisms to ensure hyperthermia doesn't occur, cooling off quadriceps by throwing a nice, cool towel on them isn't an effective strategy. Also, the biceps may not be the direct focal point, but they will still experience a fatigue curve influenced by the rise in temperature generated by lower body exercises.
The Science of Cooling the Body
The skin, fascia, and muscles under the surface of our body act as insulators and prevent heat from escaping. Drinking ice water or using an ice pack on the back of the neck can provide temporary relief from overheating, but they do not have the full capacity to cool our body. Our thermoregulatory system works like a thermostat, and the pre optic interior hypothalamus in our brain serves as the thermostat, which requires input from our overall body surface to regulate temperature. Cooling the torso with an ice vest constricts heat loss portals and impairs heat loss rate. Putting a cold towel on the neck can protect the brain, but it could trick us into thinking that we have cooled off, whereas the brain could cook due to excessive hot blood flow from the body.
The Role of Temperature on Cognitive Capacity and Body Functioning
Rising temperature decreases cognitive capacity and can lead to dangerous hyperthermic temperature. The brain receives thermal afferent information from the whole body and integrates the representation of body temperature. There are portals located in the hairless skin that can be leveraged for performance. These portals are in the pads of feet, upper part of the face for primates, portions of the ears for rabbits, inner surfaces for bears, and the tongue. When individuals transition into heat stroke, they feel exhausted, miserable and experience high heart rate. Heat stroke can occur during practice due to motivation to push.
The Science of Heat Loss in Mammals and Human Performance
Male mammals have evolved special blood vessels in limited surface areas without fur to lose heat, which are shunts between the arteries and veins. These shunts enable the blood to bypass tiny capillaries and flow directly from arteries to veins. In the skin, these vessels are located below the epidermis and are absent in the backs of the hands. Gloves and thick socks impede heat loss and hinder performance during exercise. To maximize heat loss, it is recommended to wear thin protectors on hands and feet. Proper cooling of glamour skin surfaces can improve human performance during exercise. Cooling upper half of the face improves endurance and pouring water on the head can increase cognitive performance.
The Brain-Cooling Mechanism above the Beard Line and Its Benefits
Cooling the brain through the non-hairy skin above the beard line is one of the natural mechanisms for decreasing inflammation and blood flow. Athletes can benefit from cooling during anaerobic exercises like dips, increasing their capacity to do more reps by decreasing swelling. The blood vessels that cool the brain can also be used to offset physical damage, but it is still a controversial topic. Through the skull, the blood flows in a strange way, and these blood vessels are primarily thought to be ways that blood is leaving the brain. These discoveries need more investigation.
The Benefits of Hand Cooling for Athletes' Workouts
Cooling the palms of the hands for three minutes can significantly improve an athlete's workout performance. It can reduce the occurrence of delayed onset muscle soreness, allowing for more workouts between recovery periods. This was demonstrated through an athlete who doubled his work volume and tripled what he could do after standardizing intervals for resting and cooling. Cooling technology can enhance performance in various activities, including push-ups, bench presses, and endurance work. The technology is not yet portable, but was utilized by special ops soldiers who experienced its benefits. Overall, cooling technology can be a game-changer for athletes seeking to improve their workout performance and reduce recovery times.
CoolMitt technology improves endurance and mobility in various situations
Cooling technology developed by TyroBio, called CoolMitt, has been shown to improve endurance and mobility in a variety of situations, including multiple sclerosis patients playing golf, athletes in hot environments, and military special operators. The technology is currently in beta testing with professional sports teams and the military, but the company plans to eventually make it available to the general public. Although there have been many positive studies of the technology over the years, there hasn't been a clear pathway for getting it out to consumers. The development of wearable devices, which can fit under personal protective gear, has been particularly useful for military and medical workers facing high temperatures. While the technology is not currently available for purchase, interested individuals can sign up on the company's website to be alerted when the product becomes available.
CoolBot Technology: Enhancing Performance by Cooling the Body through the Hands
Cooling the body through the hands can enhance performance, and the CoolBot is a technology developed at Stanford University that cools the hand and, thus, the body temperature. Standardized on three minutes, the technology offers maximum benefit in the first two to three minutes. While the CoolBot is being used by sports teams and the military, an individual can use a crude version of the protocol with a packet of frozen peas or juice can, taking care not to seal up heat loss by long usage or using water that is too cold. Optimal results for an individual can be determined by testing. If the hand is cool to touch after switching peas, it indicates a successful heat loss.
Effective Cooling Methods for Overheating
To cool down efficiently when overheated, it's better to put cooling methods like cold packs on the face, palms, and soles of the feet rather than on armpits, groin, or neck. This is because the efficiency of heat transfer between two objects increases with convection of the medium, and the areas mentioned have larger surface areas for radiating heat. Standard treatments recommended by medical organizations for hyperthermia are not as efficient as cooling the radiating surfaces. Also, putting cold packs with no convective stream of the cooling medium, like frozen peas, is not optimal as boundary layers decrease efficacy. Heat transfer involves convection, radiation, and convection.
Use of Heated Limbs to Warm up Hypothermic Individuals
When dealing with hypothermic individuals, it is important to heat up their extremities as well as their torso to prevent further heat loss. The use of one heated appendage, such as an arm, can effectively warm up the whole body by pulling more blood into the limb and effectively heating it. This method has been successful in preventing shivering and normalizing core temperature in a short amount of time. This is a science-backed solution that could be used in hospitals, military settings, athletes, and civilians doing other types of work to quickly and effectively warm up hypothermic individuals. It is also important to note that warm liquids could be given to someone who is hypothermic, but not too hot.
Palmer Cooling and Warming Up for Dogs
Palmer cooling, a technique used to cool down overheated dogs, was made possible due to the discovery of special blood vessels called arterial venous anastomosis (AVS). AVS is a connection between arteries and veins found only in the hands and feet. This technique works because dogs instinctively know to stand in bodies of water to cool themselves off and have the advantage that their paws and palms are essentially the same things. Warming up before exercise is essential to avoid joint damage and increase flexibility. Interestingly, the major contribution of warming up is not to raise the temperature but to increase flexibility. The best way to measure core body temperature is a salvage seal, but tympanic (ear) temperature is also reliable.
Improving Sports Performance through Cooling Workouts and Proper Gear
Improving performance can be done by decreasing heat loss and ensuring proper ventilation in helmets and gloves during sports activities. Cooling workouts can also lead to a true conditioning effect as it increases the number of contractual elements in muscles and causes them to get bigger, resulting in a performance-enhancing effect. This can occur even without the cooling workout. Anabolic steroids, which are commonly used to improve recovery time and ability to synthesize protein, have negative effects and are banned in many sports organizations. It is important to note that while there is no research comparing Palmer cooling to anabolic steroids, there is plenty of research available on the latter.
Steroid Use in Bodybuilding and Sports Performance
Steroids are not an effective tool for bodybuilding and sports performance, with independent studies showing only a 1% per week increase in bench press performance with or without steroids. Alternative parameters like temperature may have a more significant impact on performance while paying attention to nutrition and sleep is essential. Military special operators are an interesting group because they are trained to perform under unpredictable and variable conditions. Shivering increases metabolism but exercise can take metabolism up to 10 times, and it can happen without being exposed to cold. Black bears do hibernate, and researchers can implant them with EEG, EKG, and temperature sensors to study their hibernation patterns.
Brown Fat and Hibernation: How Animals Stay Warm
Bears maintain their body temperature while hibernating by shivering if the temperature drops below 33-34 degrees Celsius, while smaller animals like ground squirrels can drop their body temperature to one or two degrees Celsius above the environment. Brown fat is a tissue that helps animals produce heat during hibernation by storing energy and having lots of mitochondria and blood supply. Humans also have brown fat, which is distributed along with other fat tissue, and can be stimulated by ice packs; however, putting ice packs on the upper back may not be the best way to stimulate brown fat activation as it can affect the vertebral arteries and cause shivering and activation of brown fat.
Brown fat, brain freeze, and fidgeting: How temperature affects the body's functions.
The activation of brown fat is a sympathetic nervous system response, and any lowering of core temperature will let the thermostat say you're too cold and turn on sympathetic. Different people have different amounts of brown fat, and newborns have more brown fat than adults. The brain freeze from eating something cold like an ice cream cone or drinking a cold beverage is caused by vasomotor change, which is an increase in blood pressure. There is preliminary data that suggests using a heat device can help reduce migraines, but it's anecdotal and doesn't have a decent dataset. Fidgeters burn off a large amount of calories (800-2500 calories per day) by way of shaking their knee or moving around a lot.
The Connection Between Muscle Activity and Energy Consumption
Muscle activity increases energy consumption and heat production, and even small movements like tapping your foot can result in four times the amount of energy being lost as heat. While energy drinks and pre-workout drinks may contain thermogenic compounds to increase body temperature, they may also hinder muscular performance by inhibiting the adenosine system that supports the oxygenation of muscle. The effects of these drinks may vary depending on their cocktail of compounds and glucose sources. Additionally, keeping the room cool and dark while sleeping is advised, and there may be other useful tips for better sleep that people don't hear much about. Muscle hypoxia releases adenosine, which causes blood vessels to dilate, increasing blood flow to the muscles.
Tips for Better Sleep Hygiene with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is more emphasized than pharmacology in the sleep medicine community to increase sleep hygiene. Rules such as having regular bedtime and wake time, avoiding screens before bedtime, doing relaxing activities, and keeping the sleep environment cooler for thermoregulation are recommended. Sleeping with one leg or hand out in cool environments can help regulate body temperature passively. Temperature-sensitive spots in the body are the toes, making wearing socks helpful for thermal comfort in cooler environments. However, socks may not be necessary if it is too warm. Finally, a rational and science-grounded explanation is given for why it's better to sleep in a cool room.