Use Winter as a Healthy Weight Loss Tool

Woman Shivering in the Cold

Did you know that shivering can increase your metabolism? That's right, your body is equipped to burn calories as a way to keep warm (called non-shivering thermogenesis). This suggests that your body is intended to operate in less-than-ideal temperatures and outdoor winter activities can promote healthy endocrine changes that may significantly improve your calorie-in to calorie-burned ratio. Even when you're not shivering, you body is still working hard to keep you warm on a cold winter day.

Sometimes it's easy to use the winter as an excuse not to get outside or to engage in fewer outdoor activities leading to less exercise. After all, who wants to be cold and shivering. Truth is, through your body's muscle action, more heat is generated than your body could create without shivering. Similar to when your muscles are used for exercise, shivering has been proven effective in burning calories. So, when you are shivering cold, you definitely burn more calories than being just a little cold. Researchers estimate that shivering can burn around 100 calories in 15 minutes. 

You may or may not be familiar with the term "brown fat". Most of the stored fat deposits in the body are white fat. But brown fat, which the body more often uses as fuel, is deposited in smaller amounts within the white fat. Physical activities outdoors, whether they are recreational or work-related, cause brown fat to burn. Additionally, some of the deposits of white fat take on the characteristics of brown fat and are also consumed as your body works to stay warm.

It is the time of year to get off the sofa and spend some time outside. Just remember to keep the head, hands and feet warm and stay hydrated. Although a cold winter's day seems like a great time to fill a jug with hot chocolate. Scientist say that consuming warm liquids may make you initially feel warmer, in the long run they do little to affect body heat (other than to warm your hands while holding the cup). So drink water and plenty of it.


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