Differences in Circulating Cortisol Levels After Completing Hand Ergometer Exercise with and Without Graded Compression Arm Sleeves
Authors: Manuel Gomez, Samuel Montalvo, Daniel Conde, Gabriel Ibarra-Mejia
Abstract: Cortisol has many physiological effects on the human body and its concentration increases in an intensity-dependent manner. The prolonged physical stress increases total cortisol concentration. Anecdotal data suggests that using graded compression sleeves forearm alleviates pain in the upper and lower limbs. The physiological mechanisms underlying these benefits are not fully understood. This study aimed to assess the effects of wearing graded compression (13-18 mmHg) sleeves on circulating cortisol after completing a physical activity with three different intensities. The study included six participants between 18 and 25 years old without a known history of injuries in the upper limbs. The proper sleeve size was fitted to the participants following the manufacturer’s instructions (On-Site Therapy, Tallahassee,FL.), and anthropometric measurements were taken. All the participants randomly completed a cycle hand ergometer exercise at 60 RPM at 25 W., 50 W., and 75 W for a maximum of 10 minutes with and without forearm sleeves. All the participants rested for at least 72 hours before the next exercise session to avoid muscular fatigue. Venous blood samples were drawn before and after completing each session to compare the effects of wearing graded compression sleeves on the circulating cortisol concentration. Cortisol concentrations were analyzed by enzyme link immunosorbent assay (ELISA). A Linear mixed-effects model was used for analysis. Participants wearing the compression sleeves showed a significant decrease in cortisol concentration at 50 W only. This study shows the potential benefits of wearing compression sleeves while performing activities involving the upper limbs. Even though our results show a decrease in cortisol concentration at 50 W., a larger sample size would be needed to dictate a significant difference in the physiological response associated with the use of graded compression sleeves.
Keywords: Cortisol, Compression, Sleeves
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