Winter Is The Best Season For Your Health, Studies Say, So Stop Whining About the Cold
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that, when you're out in your driveway shoveling snow up to your knees, toes frozen and nose pretty close to detaching due to chill, it may be difficult to believe that winter time carries extreme health benefits. Summer gets all the accolades because we actually get to see the blatant results of all of this healthfulness; short shorts, crop tops and sun kissed skin are all slightly more aesthetically pleasing than a parka.
So here I am, the winter optimism fairy. I have come to change your mind about all that is white, frozen, and scrunchy. I'll start with air.
That's right, air.
Researchers from the Netherlands published evidence in Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism suggesting that chilly air may actually help to keep your weight down. Whenever we're exposed to the same stagnant temperature for an extended period of time, our bodies lay in limbo, not particularly galvanized to work one way or the other. But when cold air is breathed in, our systems are shocked into activity, forced to ramp up the energy in order to keep our core temperature up. We burn calories just trying to stay warm.
Another point the study made is that, as human beings in our cute climate-controlled condos, we very rarely do have to deal with the natural, ambient temperatures that might otherwise serve as metabolic catalysts.
I can certainly attest to the legitimacy of this myself; visiting cold regions throughout the world, shivering constantly, trying to hunt down arctic foxes, as one does. Freezing weather is taxing business.
To top it off, it's not just traversing the snowy world that's great for you but sleeping in a colder atmosphere too. Another study released in Diabetes found that breathing in cool air all night not only minimizes the possibility of developing diabetes itself but helps your body to burn more calories overall.
You see, winter haters, our bodies have several differing kinds of fat: brown (adipose), subcutaneous, and white.
Brown fat, in cool temperatures, actually serves to rid your body of white fat. Brown fat is more common in kids, and lean people as a whole tend to have more brown fat than their less lean counterparts. Subcutaneous fat is notable because it's easier to see in the human body, lying right under the skin, but when it comes to general health it holds less weight (mwahaha) than the others.
Given all this, I'm thinking the next time I really need to lean out I'll head some place chilly. Maybe I'll finally get my hands on that arctic fox, AKA beacon of cuteness.
Images: Getty (1), Giphy (1)