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Cold Weather Can Help You Burn more Calories!

Cold Weather Can Help You Burn more Calories!

This time of the year is packed with opportunities that add on extra kilos. Like Christmas cookies, bûche de Noël, alcohol, lazy days when your only exercise is moving from the couch to the fridge. But if you live in a cold weather environment, you have at least one calorie-burning weapon; that Cold that hits you when you step outside.

How does cold temperature increase calorie burn?

Cold temperatures can increase calorie burn through hormone irisin and brown fat. These are related to energy expenditure and are activated by involuntary muscle contractions like shivering when the temperature decreases.

Some facts about white and brown fats.

-We have two types of fats, white and brown fat. Brown fat is different from the white fats because they generate heat and burn calories when stimulated.
-Leaner adults have more brown fat than heavier people.
-These fats are packed with iron that is why they have the brown color.

Brown fats in childhood and adults.

-It’s known that children have more brown fat than adults to help them regulate their body temperature because they can’t shiver.
-Brown fat stores decline in adults but still help with warmth. We can increase brown fat by converting the white fats into brown ones when exercising.

Calories burnt in cold weather vs. exercising

-Recent study showed that 15 minutes in the freezing cold can burn as many calories as one hour of exercise.
-Shivering burns five times more energy than a body at rest, and even mild cold that doesn’t cause you to shiver starts to burn some calories through those brown fat stores.
-Nevertheless, Shivering on a ski lift or waiting on line outside a movie theater will never provide all the benefits of an actual cardio and weight lifting workout; But at least we can know that it might help keep off some of that dreaded winter weight.
-Calorie burning effects of cold temperature aren’t additive, so doing your workout in your backyard on a cold morning won’t double your calorie burning

In conclusion, we encourage you to increase your exercise because it will trigger brown fat to burn more calories and give you other benefits that shivering won’t give.

Christelle Bedrossian
Beirut, Lebanon


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Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian