Cold Weather Bonus; You’re Burning More Calories!
If you're looking to burn calories, shivering may be almost as good as a few minutes on the elliptical. It's a bright side of this crazy winter cold spell, proven by some guys in the nude!
Brr! The weather hasn't been very Texas-y lately, and it's not going to warm up much at all until the end of the week. We're in the deep freeze, and that will bring plenty of opportunities to shiver.
I've been down a pound or two over the past week, and I thought that might be due to my incredible discipline and uncanny ability to avoid chocolate (for five minutes), but now I'm thinking maybe it's just because my body can't find warmth! I am not that disciplined, it turns out. And the cold weather might make us all go down a size.
To figure out that cold weather makes some cells burn energy to produce heat, TIME Magazine said a U.S. Army researcher exposed 10 nude men to temperatures in the low 50s for eight hours a day. No thanks! That's a whole workday, literally chilled out. I mean, it already feels like it's 50 degrees every day in most offices, but at least we have clothes on. The body's automatic response to being cold is to shiver, and they did lots of that in the study. TIME said, "By day 14, the men had mostly stopped shivering, and their bodies seemed to be making heat some other way."
Scientists figured out that the body has special heat-producing fat cells known as “brown fat” and one of their goals is to warm us up when we're cold. White fat cells store energy and brown fat cells burn energy to produce heat.
From what I've read, after the body shivers long enough, it starts producing brown fat cells and they take over with heat production, which burns calories. Hopefully, we don't have to shiver for 14 days! But shivering and brown fat production can help with bodyweight goals, as long as we're not ruining the benefit with extra doses of hot chocolate and chili. Oh. Darn.
It doesn't sound like there is a magic temperature that we have to hit to reap the benefits of this brown fat, as long as we're shivering. So, no coat?
It's nice to know there's a winter bonus, and that boosted brown fat is our friend. AND, you're totally justified for walking around the house buck naked. You're welcome.