Before you pack up and move to the tropics to escape the cold weather, read these interesting tidbits. You may be surprised to find that cold weather has its share of health benefits.
Sleeping in a cooler room instead of a warmer one, has been found to promote restful sleep. Did you know that your body naturally drops in temperature when asleep? This explains why you may find it difficult to sleep comfortably in a room that is too warm. If you have trouble getting a good night sleep, try lowering the thermostat. In addition, a cooling pillow can be helpful to those suffering with insomnia, hot flashes or night sweats. Cooling pillows infused with a cooling gel draw heat away from your body, and reduce the temperature of your bed, helping you get a good night’s sleep.
Cold Weather Beauty Benefits
While we may consider cold weather harsh, our skin can benefit from exposure to cooler temperatures. Cold weather enhances blood circulation, which reduces the likelihood of puffy eyes and facial swelling. When exposed to cooler temperatures, the blood vessels in your face react by giving you that fresh, wholesome look – clear, bright eyes and rosy-red cheeks. Exposure to cool weather also tightens the pores of your skin, and invigorates your face, like a refreshing splash of cold water or a cold shower. Hot water has an opposite, drying effect and can dry the skin. But that’s not to say that prolonged exposure to extreme cold air or cold water isn't harmful, think frostbite, or hypothermia. Always protect exposed skin when the temperatures are below freezing.
Weather Affects Mood and Behavior
Does hot weather make you hot-tempered? Or do you find you’re cranky when its cold? Researchers in Poland conducted a study to determine if there was a direct correlation between temperatures and stress levels. They found that the stress hormone, cortisol is actually lower in your body in winter, and rises along with hotter summer temperatures. Increased levels of cortisol are thought to make us more apt to be irritable or angry. Crime statistics support this research as a rise in reported acts of violence during hot summer weather are the norm.
While dreary skies, shorter days, and less sunshine in the winter may bring on the blues, exercising in cold weather can make you happier. Hot, humid weather can leave you feeling drained, especially after physical exertion. Exercising outdoors in cold weather increases the release of endorphins, those feel good hormones, as your body works harder to stay warm, it naturally lifts your mood.
Cold Weather for Fitness and Weight Loss
Walking or exercising outdoors during cooler weather can kickstart your efforts to lose excess body fat. The brown fat that your body burns to generate energy is triggered by cold weather. Turns out, your body burns more calories to keep warm in cold weather, and when trying to cool down in hot weather. The difference, however, is that people tend to think they were burning more calories than they actually are when exercising in hot weather, due to sweating. According to a 2013 published study funded by the American Council on Exercise, yoga participants worked out in a controlled environment ranging in temperature from 90 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and then again in a normal temperature setting. Excessive sweating when working out in hot temperatures caused participants to not exert as much effort due to their perceived exertion, believing that were expending more calories than they actually were.
What about you? Do you find cold weather invigorating, or do you thrive better when it’s warm out?
About the Author:
Deborah Tukua is a nonfiction author, and editor of Journey to Natural Living. She is author of seven books including, Naturally Sweet Blender Treats: 55 Fresh from the Blender Recipes, and Marketing Strategies for Chiropractic Success. Deborah has been a regular lifestyle feature writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.
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