The benefits of cold weather
by Freya • 5 minutes read
Last updated: 05 Sep, 2022
Yes, you read that correctly - there are benefits to cold weather!
With the summer coming to an end, the cold weather is starting to creep in, and for some the colder seasons can be daunting for many reasons. But we want to put a positive spin on it, so here are the health benefits of being cold…
It can help burn calories
In colder temperatures, our bodies work harder to warm us up to our core body temperature which is usually around 37°C. Our bodies shiver to generate more “brown fat” (good fat) and turn “white fat” (bad fat) reserves into brown fat, which encourages the process of heat production (thermogenesis), this leads to our bodies burning more calories compared to when we are not shivering.
According to one study, exercising in the winter burns more calories than in warmer temperatures, this is due to thermogenesis. For example, during the study when hiking in the winter season, people would burn around 800-1000 calories more than they would in the spring season.
Can help boost your brain
Research has shown that cold temperatures can help us think clearer, allowing us to carry out tasks easier and more effectively.
According to a study taken by Stanford University, when temperatures drop, it is easier to perform cognitive tasks including staying calm and making effective and logical decisions. This occurs as in warmer weathers our glucose levels will drop, making it harder for us to concentrate, in the winter our brain will use less to function.
It can reduce inflammation
Exposure to cold can help your joints feel less swollen in the winter due to the cold air acting as a natural ice pack. Making it easier to overcome an injury during the season.
Can help fight infections
Although you are more likely to get a cold in the winter, the cold weather can actually be beneficial at fighting off infections. According to studies, these cold temperatures will activate our immune system, making it easier to fight off infections.
Can reduce allergies
During the winter, the pollen count is almost non-existent, reducing allergies and its symptoms. This is due to plants releasing pollen in the spring season, during the winter this is less common hence relief for hayfever sufferers.
However, you are more likely to spend more time indoors, so if you suffer from dust mite and mould allergies it may worsen in the cold weather.
Helps us sleep better
The process of falling asleep can happen a lot easier in colder temperatures. This is due to our core temperature needing to drop when trying to sleep, making it harder in warmer weather.
As well as this, the darker mornings will make it easier to stay asleep for longer as light can encourage us to wake up.
Can help fight diabetes
Colder weather can help those that suffer from diabetes activate their “brown fat”, which is a tissue that produces heat. This will encourage absorption of glucose in the blood, improving insulin sensitivity.
Can strengthen your heart
Cold weather leads to our hearts working harder, especially during exercise, as it will work harder to pump blood and maintain the body's temperature. This will help make the heart muscles stronger, making it beneficial to workout outside when it is cold. This will also help you in warmer weather as your heart is stronger and will allow you to exercise for longer.
Disclaimer: We provide this information for educational purposes only. No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
- Does exercise burn more calories in the cold than in warm weather? - https://www.statnews.com/2017/12/20/exercising-cold-calories-burned/
- Selective impairment of glucose but not fatty acid or oxidative metabolism in brown adipose tissue of subjects with type 2 diabetes - https://scholar.google.ca/citations?view_op=view_citation&hl=en&user=-XK0EBwAAAAJ&citation_for_view=-XK0EBwAAAAJ:roLk4NBRz8UC
- 7 Surprising Health Benefits of Cold Weather - https://scholar.google.ca/citations?view_op=view_citation&hl=en&user=-XK0EBwAAAAJ&citation_for_view=-XK0EBwAAAAJ:ULOm3_A8WrAC https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320214
- 7 Surprising Health Benefits of Cold Weather - https://www.readersdigest.ca/health/healthy-living/cold-weather-good-for-you/
- How can our health benefit from colder temperatures? - https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320214
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