When exposed to a cold environment, a barehanded person experiences pain, cold sensation, and reduced manual dexterity. Both acute (e.g. exercise) and chronic (e.g. cold acclimatization or habituation) processes might lessen these negative effects. The purpose of this experiment was to determine the effect of cold habituation on physiology, perception, and manual dexterity during rest, exercise, and recovery in 5 °C. Six cold weather athletes (CWA) and eight non habituated men (NON) volunteered to participate in a repeated measures cross-over design. The protocol was conducted in 5 °C and was 90 min of resting cold exposure, 30 min of cycle ergometry exercise (50 % VO2 peak), and 60 min of seated recovery. Core and finger skin temperature, metabolic rate, Purdue Pegboard dexterity performance, hand pain, thermal sensation, and mood were quantified. Exercise-induced finger rewarming (EIFRW) was calculated for each hand. During 90 min of resting exposure to 5 °C, the CWA had a smaller reduction in finger temperature, a lower metabolic rate, less hand pain, and less negative mood. Despite this cold habituation, dexterity performance was not different between groups. In response to cycle ergometry, EIFRW was greater in CWA (~12 versus 7 °C) and occurred at lower core temperatures (37.02 versus 37.31 °C) relative to NON but dexterity was not greater during post-exercise recovery. The current data indicate that cold habituated men (i.e., CWA) do not perform better on the Purdue Pegboard during acute cold exposure. Furthermore, despite augmented EIFRW in CWA, dexterity during post-exercise recovery was similar between groups.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atmospheric Science
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis