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Is Cold Weather Good for You?

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Is Cold Weather Good for You?

Summer is just about over, and that means cooler temperatures are on the horizon for many. But before you pack up and move to the tropics to escape the impending winter we’re forecasting, you may be surprised to learn that cold weather actually has some health benefits.

Cold Weather and Better Sleep

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 well in a room that is too warm. If you have trouble getting a good night sleep, try making the room a little cooler. In addition, a cooling pillow can be helpful to those suffering from 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 health benefits - woman sleeping

Cold Weather’s 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 effect and can dry the skin. But that’s not to say prolonged exposure to very cold air doesn’t wreak havoc on your skin (frostbite, etc). Always protect exposed skin when the temperatures are below freezing.

cold weather health benefits - woman standing outside with snow falling

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How Does Cold Weather Affect 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 (along with dehydration and being forced to stay indoors during extreme heat) 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. So don’t be surprised if, on sweltering summer days, your fuse is short.

While gray skies and shorter days with less sunshine in the winter may bring on the blues, exercising in cold weather can actually make you happier. Hot, humid weather can leave you feeling drained, especially after physical exertion. Experts say 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.

Two women outdoors in winter

A Break From Pollen Allergies

The good news about cold weather is that pollen counts are low. So if you suffer from seasonal allergies, you may just get a break. Of course, there are other allergens in wintertime you should consider, such as mold and dust mites, but for the most part, you’ll get a bit of a reprieve.

Hot or Cold, Fit or Fat?

Cold weather just may be your friend when it comes to exercise. Walking or exercising outdoors during cooler weather can actually 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 90–105 degrees Fahrenheit (ever heard of “hot yoga”?), 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.Cold weather health benefits - two people running outside on a snowy road

Have you ever wondered if the climate where you live has any effect on your weight? Are people who live in cold-weather states fatter or fitter than those living in states where it’s hot year-round? According to the State of Adult Obesity in the US states with the lowest rates of obesity (as of 2017) were Hawaii, Massachusetts, Washington, DC, and Colorado. Each of these states has varying climates. The states with the highest rates of adult obesity were West Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, most of which are in the south. Yet, not all southern states fall in this category. So, weather may play a role but it isn’t the deciding factor in our nation’s obesity trend.

What about you? Do you find colder weather invigorating, or do you thrive better when it’s warm out? We want to hear from you!

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15 comments

1 Samuel Donnelly { 09.24.18 at 5:17 am }

Why not Minot?

2 David Benson { 09.16.18 at 9:09 pm }

I read all the comments, and almost every one started with the month they were born. I have never heard of this being a factor in weather preferences. Am I missing something?

3 mary cron { 09.16.18 at 3:33 am }

I LOVE THE FALL AND WINTER.GIVE ME COLD.I HAVE COPD AND CAN BREATHE BETTER IN COOLER WEATHER.I WAS BIRN IN PENNSYLVANIA.

4 Phil { 09.14.18 at 9:52 am }

I was born in Mi. in Feb. I never liked the cold. I love the So. West. I work on old cars so don’t like the rust here either!! I moved back when my mother became Ill. and now I’m too old to move.

5 Karen { 09.13.18 at 5:51 am }

I have always enjoyed the cooler/colder weather. Many have complained it is because I look so good in cold weather. I chalk it up to attitude. Breathing is easier too. Vacations to me are not hot, tropical destinations. I grew up and live in Missouri. Give me cool brisk air and a bonfire to warm up with. You can always add layers for warmth, but there is just so much we can remove and remain in public(legally).

6 TT { 09.12.18 at 9:57 pm }

I was born in April. I live in Ohio. My favorite temps. are from 74 – 85 degrees. So anytime we can land in those temps. I’m happy. I love all the seasons for the beauty and activities each offer. When it’s time for a season to change, I’m ready.

7 Jodi { 09.12.18 at 3:10 pm }

I was born in August but I love the cooler months and t really do love the winter time because of my seasonal allergies and asthma makes it harder for me to breathe in the summer months. I also love seeing the snow flake fall gently from my window makes it relaxing.

8 Claire { 09.12.18 at 11:55 am }

I live in upstate NY and love the change of seasons but would like it more if there were less summer with humidity. I will never move to the south. I was raised on LI and never regret moving away. You can always put more clothing on to get warm but can’t take it off to get cool. Fall is my most favorite season with foliage in bloom and the crisp morning air. I enjoy hiking and all of the fall activities like apple picking, and fall craft fairs.

9 Prairiewoman { 09.12.18 at 11:11 am }

I am a September child in South Dakota so my favorite season is autumn. The other 3 are all good in my book though. Each, like a child, is especially loved for certain qualities. Spring for the new growth, summer for the fun and light clothing, and winter for the holidays and the crisp cold days, sunny or snowy. I’m older now so winter can be tough but as long as I am at home, I’m ok.

10 selina masi { 09.12.18 at 10:19 am }

I’m born in February and I live in Pennsylvania. I love the changing seasons but I love summer the most, I love swimming outdoors. As the cold weather hits, my bones and joints hurt so bad as I have severe arthritis all over. I am currently considering a move to the Carolinas.

11 Connie { 09.12.18 at 10:02 am }

I was born in October and Fall is my favorite season, followed by Winter. I live in Louisiana, so as soon as Winter is over, I’m ready for Fall again. Can’t stand the heat and humidity. Better hair days in Fall and Winter.

12 Penny Griggs { 09.12.18 at 9:45 am }

I was born in March and have always lived in middle Tennessee. The winters are hard on me. When I get cold I get stiff and hurt all over. Arthritis doesn’t do cold. 113 pounds doesn’t do cold very well either. I love the things cold weather brings though, campfires, beautiful leaves, Halloween & Christmas of course!

13 Ron { 09.12.18 at 8:45 am }

I was born in November 1949. I love the winter. I think the changing of the seasons is just beautiful here in Michigan. Michigan has been my home all my life and I wouldn’t move anywhere even that I am getting older. Snowmobiling And ice fishing is what I do.

14 Judy DaFoe { 09.12.18 at 8:09 am }

I was born in June and live in Michigan I only stay here for my grandchildren as I only have 1 daughter if given the choice I would leave in a heart beat for warmer weather. Now mind you I do not want to live in southern Florida that is way to hot. I am retired now and the winters here are very hard on me the older I get. We have a lot of humidity here.

15 Matt Rozell { 09.12.18 at 7:32 am }

I’ve noticed that the people I know, born in cooler months, tolerate the cold better! I was a winter-born baby, so I love the cold. Its tough for me to tolerate the Texas heat, the older I get.

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