You could be reading the full-text of this article now if you...

If you have access to this article through your institution,
you can view this article in

Effects of Lightweight Outdoor Clothing on the Prevention of Hypothermia During Low-Intensity Exercise in the Cold

Burtscher, Martin MD, PhD*,†; Kofler, Philipp MSc*,‡; Gatterer, Hannes MSc*; Faulhaber, Martin PhD*,†; Philippe, Marc MSc*; Fischer, Kathrin BSc*; Walther, Rebekka BSc*; Herten, Anne MD*,‡

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e318257c9cc
Brief Report

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.

Author Information

*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 (

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

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.