Although shivering may not be the most pleasant experience, it has been found that cooler, icy weather can actually be beneficial to the body to burn more calories, and support weight loss. Especially during the holiday seasons that come with mostly winters for a great deal of the world’s population, the cooler weather may usually bring more opportunities to pack on a few more pounds with comfort eating and more sedentary lifestyles. Though there are some ways to utilize the cold to your advantage, even harness the effects that cold weather has on the body in a way which can speed fat burn.
Studies have been conducted on the effects of cold weather environments on the body, particularly in relation to the hormones produced during the body reaction of shivering. It has been concluded that just 15 minutes in icy cold temperatures can be equivalent to the dame calorie burn as 1 hour of exercise. Put simply, the body has 2 types of fat: white and brown fat. White fat is the stubborn layer of extra weight we tend to carry around, which is energy that is stored in the body. The more calories consumed, the more extra energy we are taking in, and if we aren’t burning that energy, it gets stored in our bodies as white fat. Brown fat is the same type that baby’s have to regulate their body temperature. Without their ability to shiver, they need brown fat to generate heat.
The same is true in our own bodies – we contain brown fat, which helps to regulate temperature – especially in adverse weather such as the cold – and this actually burns calories in the process. So brown fat is a calorie-burning tool for our body. Just as exercise contracts our muscles and produces hormones to turn white fat to brown fat, and therefore calories burn leading to weight loss, cold temperatures on the body have a similar effect. The shivering of the body jump starts the heat generating effect of brown fat and sparks the white fat of our bodies to behave just like our calories burning brown fat. In short, jumping into a cold body of water, or being out in the icy wind for a short time can be beneficial for weight loss with the increased calorie burn.
You can learn more about weight loss by visiting your local physician.