Venus and I enjoyed a brisk, healthy walk in the cold, enjoying the swans and ducks along the Mount Sinai harbor, nearby where we live.
We love to walk in the wintertime as it is a great way to burn extra calories, detoxify, obtain vitamin D from the sun and avoid SAD (seasonal affective disorder- due to the shorter amount of daylight, people can get the wintertime blues).
Exercising in the cold increases REE (Resting Energy Expenditure, the calories burned at rest) when your body works to maintain its core temperature. Many factors go into how the cold affects each individual, such as body mass/composition, age, hormonal status, and gender.
Shivering burns 100 calories in just 15 minutes ( I don’t recommend doing that), although I used to do a Polar Bear plunge each New Year’s Day and I never felt better than right afterwards. Today, people are paying for Cryotherapy sessions (cold tanks) including athletes, to decrease inflammation and increase cell rejuvenation.
Being slightly cold has been shown to burn more calories even if not shivering. (Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2013). When you are cold, you burn both brown fat and white fat. Brown fat is a small collection of fat that is quickly and efficiently used up. Newborns have the highest percentage, which decreases as we age.
White Fat is the larger percentage of fat that we see when new have belly fat, etc.
The hormone Irisin causes both shivering and non-shivering Thermogenesis (heat production, which burns calories). Irisin increases when the body is cold. (Cell Metabolism, 2014)
A study by the National Institute of Health, showed that 15 minutes in the cold is the metabolic equivalent of one hour of exercise (although many factors need to be considered in this calculation).
Similarly, higher temperatures cause more calories and fat to be burned when exercising.
Exercising in the cold weather can have a drying effect on the airways and skin, so make sure to stay well hydrated. Be sure to breathe deeply from the diagram to get extra oxygenation, and detoxification.
Winter exercising is great for you such as walking, hiking, running, jogging, skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, cycling, ice-skating, hockey and winter surfing. Make sure to know your limits, don’t get a chill, dress in layers and most of all, enjoy yourself!!
Wishing you health and VITALITY over the winter season!
~Dr. Dave, Venus & The Oasis Team
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This blog is for informational purposes only. It is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a licensed, qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.