The effect of mild whole-body cold stress on isometric force control during hand grip and key pinch tasks
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Thermal Biology. 2020, 89 . 10.1016/j.jtherbio.2020.102537
Prolonged exposure to cold can impair manual performance, which in turn can affect work task performance. We investigated whether mild whole-body cold stress would affect isometric force control during submaximal hand grip and key pinch tasks. Twelve male participants performed isometric hand grip and key pinch tasks at 10% and 30% of maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) for 30 and 10 s respectively, in cold (8 °C) and control (25 °C) conditions. Finger temperature decreased significantly by 18.7 ± 2.1 °C and continuous low-intensity shivering in the upper trunk increased significantly in intensity and duration during cold exposure. Rectal temperature decreased similarly for the 8 °C and 25 °C exposures. Force variability (FCv) was <2% for the hand grip tasks, and <3% for the key pinch tasks. No significant changes in FCv or force accuracy were found between the ambient temperatures. In conclusion, isometric force control during hand grip and key pinch tasks was maintained when participants experienced mild whole-body cold stress compared with when they were thermally comfortable.