Rewarming of feet by lower and upper body exercise

Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1992;65(5):427-32. doi: 10.1007/BF00243509.


The capacity of different types of exercise to rewarm the body, especially the feet, was studied. Six healthy male subjects wearing winter clothing (2.4 clo, 0.37 degrees C.m2.W-1) were exposed on three occasions to -15 degrees C for 120 min. For the first 60 min the subjects were cooled while sitting motionless and for the latter 60 min they were submitted to cycle ergometer exercise (CE), arm ergometer exercise (AE) or step exercise (ST). The rate of work in CE (about 350 W) served as a reference value for AE and ST. The cooling resulted in an average 1.7 (SEM 0.03) degrees C decrease in mean body temperature (Tb) corresponding to a 425 (SEM 9) kJ heat debt. The ST increased most effectively mean skin, rectal and lower body skin temperatures as well as dry heat loss. The ST increased Tb by 0.83 (SEM 0.16) degrees C, CE by 0.10 (SEM 0.11) degrees C and AE by only 0.07 (SEM 0.12) degrees C. At the end of the exercise the foot temperature was approximately 6 degrees C higher in ST than in CE. The superior rewarming by ST was apparently due to its low mechanical efficiency. Because the increase in Tb could not explain all the changes in foot temperatures, increased circulation and metabolism of the feet would also appear to have been involved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm
  • Body Temperature*
  • Cold Temperature
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Foot*
  • Humans
  • Leg
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Skin Temperature