6 Health Benefits of Cold Weather

Though they may be uncomfortable at times, freezing winters benefit and preserve our health in more ways than one. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Though they may be uncomfortable at times, freezing winters benefit and preserve our health in more ways than one. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Brrr, it’s cold out there! But some evidence suggests that all our winter shivering is good for us. Perhaps it’s partly why Minnesota has the second-highest life expectancy of any U.S. state (we’re on to you, Hawaii). Here are six more health benefits of cold weather (via The Huffington Post):

  1. Cold weather burns more calories. Recent research has shown that simply being cold burns more calories, as your body workers harder to maintain its temperature. It may also trigger “brown fat” in the body, a good fat that can burn off other “white” fat.
  2. It brings us closer together. During periods of weather-induced isolation, you are more likely to reach out to your family and friends on the phone, and tend to chat with them for longer than usual, reducing stress and promoting happiness.
  3. It’s less favorable for disease-carrying bugs. Mosquitoes and ticks have a much harder time surviving in winter, drastically reducing your risk of contracting diseases they can carry, like West Nile virus and Lyme disease.
  4. It makes you appreciate warmer days. Come summer, the memory of these cold days will make you cherish and take advantage of the warm ones even more. Think bike rides, strolls around the lake, and outdoor picnics with friends. We can’t wait, either.
  5. It reduces inflammation. Just like putting ice on an injury, cold weather can reduce inflammation and pain all over your body. Professional athletes and spa-goers have even taken to “cryotherapy” treatments, in which they are exposed to extremely cold temperatures for a short period of time in order to reduce pain and speed workout recovery.
  6. It allows you to focus on exercise for the right reasons. Lack of a perpetual bikini season in Minnesota offers a temporary escape from the pressure to have a perfectly beach-worthy body. It also gives you a chance to focus on fitness for health and energy, not just purely for appearance.

 

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