Objective: To study protective effects of windbreaker jacket and pants during exercise in the cold.
Design: Randomized pilot study.
Setting: Climate chamber.
Participants: Nine well-trained (V[Combining Dot Above]O2max 61.7 ± 6.6 mL/min/kg) sport students (6 male and 3 female participants).
Interventions: Subjects started walking for 1 hour in a climate chamber (0°C ambient temperature and wind speed of 10 km/h) at 70% V[Combining Dot Above]O2max wearing gloves, a T-shirt, and shorts. Then, the walking speed was reduced to 30% V[Combining Dot Above]O2max for an additional 60 minutes or until core temperature dropped below 35.5°C. Subsequently, 3 groups of 3 participants continued walking without change of clothing or obtaining additionally a cap and a windbreaker jacket or windbreaker jacket and pants.
Main Outcome Measures: Core and skin temperature, thermal comfort.
Results: The main findings of this study were that exercising at 70% V[Combining Dot Above]O2max in the cold was sufficient to prevent hypothermia and that during low-intensity exercise (30% V[Combining Dot Above]O2max), the combined use of a polyester cap, lightweight windbreaker jacket, and pants was necessary to increase a prehypothermic core temperature.
Conclusions: We strongly recommend taking a cap, windbreaker jacket, and pants for the prevention of hypothermia during exhaustive walking or running in cold weather conditions.
*Department of Sport Science, Medical Section, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
†Austrian Society for Mountain and High-Altitude Medicine, Innsbruck, Austria
‡Centre of Technology of Ski and Alpine Sports, Innsbruck, Austria.
Corresponding Author: Martin Burtscher, MD, PhD, Department of Sport Science, Medical Section, University of Innsbruck, Fürstenweg 185, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Supported in part by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency FFG K-PROJECT Nr. 820494 “Sports Textiles.”
Presented in part at the 22nd International Congress for Mountain Rescue Physicians in Innsbruck (Austria); November 2011.
The authors report no conflicts of interest.
Received November 8, 2011
Accepted March 28, 2012