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Jun 18, 2019
8:49PM

Japanese researchers develop new type of cooling vest for sports athletes

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Japanese researchers have developed a new type of cooling vest for sports athletes that may help them compete safely in sweltering summer conditions. Strategies to cope with body heat in sports is a pressing issue, said researchers from Hiroshima University in Japan.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be held in the hot and muggy Japanese summer where the ambient temperature is expected to be above 33 degrees Celsius. Athletes have to worry about performing under pressure of the high-stakes competition and deal with a very hot and humid climate.

They said that because the human body temperature is usually around 37 degrees Celsius, a concern arises if it increases over 40 degrees Celsius. Dehydration, decreased performance and decreased brain function are the dangers faced when the core body temperature climbs too high.  To help combat this, the researchers collaborated with a Japanese sportswear company Mizuno to test a new type of cooling vest.

The cooling vest is filled with ice packs and features a collar that can also cool the neck. The aim is to cool the athletes' upper-body skin which can decrease heart rate and temperature of their neck and skin. Participants exercised for 30 minutes followed by 15 minutes of rest, with and without the cooling vest, then exercised for a final 30 minutes in a format similar to a soccer match.


The athletes who wore the vest at half-time showed increased performance in the second half. They also reported feeling more comfortable in the second half, an important factor as comfort and relaxation during half time is important to avoid stress during a game. The research is not just applicable to athletes but to people that exercise in hot conditions, researchers said.

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