01.11.20 News

Embracing the cold weather for your health

With Winter Storm Jacob bringing snow and ice to the West, Midwest and Northeast last weekend, some are reminded of Jack Frost across the country.  Depending on where you live, the following health benefits may help you overcome snow-overload and keep trudging ahead:

  • Cold weather burns more calories. Research shows that simply being cold burns more calories.  Brown fat burns calories to generate heat, and it burns off white fat.  A study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation showed that the metabolism of its healthy subjects increased by 80 percent after exposed to cold.
  • You fall asleep more easily. As you get drowsy and your body prepares to sleep, it loses heat.  Studies show that sleep-onset insomniacs have warmer core body temperatures than normal healthy adults.  One way to bring on sleep faster is to lower the room temperature.  Another way, as shown by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and its study of insomniacs, is to literally cool off your head.
  • Helps you think more clearly. The glucose in our bodies helps our mental agility and regulates our internal body temperatures.  According to Scientific American, warm temperatures force our bodies to use up tons of glucose to keep cool and can “adversely affect our decision-making abilities.”
  • Reduces muscle inflammation. Like putting ice on an injury, cold weather can reduce inflammation and pain.  That’s why some professional athletes and spa-goers have taken to “cryotherapy” treatments (exposure to extremely cold temperatures for a short period of time to reduce pain and speed workout recovery).  Keep in mind, those with heart issues are best kept warm because blood vessels narrow in the cold.
  • Helps keep your skin clear. Cold weather can act as an astringent and tighten pores.  It slows and prevents the secretion of sebum, reducing the likelihood of clogs and helping to thwart shiny skin and acne.  And just as cryotherapy is said to slow aging and add a youthful glow, a walk outside in the cold can do the same.
  • Brings us closer together. While seeking shelter to get cozy and hibernate, we’re more likely to reach out to family and friends on the phone, and chat for longer than usual, reducing stress and promoting happiness.

As an extra bonus, did you know that studies show drinking two cups of hot cocoa a day improves cognitive performance and blood flow to the brain in older adults. Swap out dessert for a month to get in two daily servings of cocoa!


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