Can Cold Weather Ever Be A Good Thing?
You may be surprised to learn that cold weather actually has some health benefits. See the list.
Brrr! Winter often means cold mornings, sweaters, lots of fleece, and a pair or two of fuzzy socks. But before to dream of escaping to warmer climates, you may be surprised to learn that cold weather actually has some health benefits.
1. Improved 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’s 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.
2. A Beauty Booster
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 the 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). Always protect exposed skin when the temperatures are below freezing.
3. Lower Cortisol Levels
Does hot weather make you hot-tempered? Or do you find you’re cranky when it’s 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.
4. 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, such as mold and dust mites, and an affliction known as “Cedar Fever” you should consider, but for the most part, you’ll get a bit of a reprieve.
5. Burn More Calories
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 they were expending more calories than they actually were.
6. Trimmer Waistline?
Have you ever wondered if the climate where you live has any effect on your weight? Are people who live in cold-weather states fitter or fatter 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, while the weather may play a role, it isn’t the deciding factor in our nation’s obesity trend.
Extreme Cold Weather is Dangerous
Of course, extremely cold weather can be dangerous and you should exercise caution. Take a look at these must-read tips for when the temperatures plummet.
Do cold winters kill bugs? Find out here.
Deborah Tukua is a natural living, healthy lifestyle writer and author of 7 non-fiction books, including Pearls of Garden Wisdom: Time-Saving Tips and Techniques from a Country Home, Pearls of Country Wisdom: Hints from a Small Town on Keeping Garden and Home, and Naturally Sweet Blender Treats. Tukua has been a writer for the Farmers' Almanac since 2004.
The best part of winter is that the cold weather keeps the scum in their own shelters such as the thieves, vandals, door to door scammers, loud outdoor drunkards, backyard stinky bon fires (can’t even open windows for fresh air) brain dead idiots squealing tires all hours of the night, etc., etc., and not to forget no mosquitoes, wood ticks and wasps.
I’m an October baby and fall is my favorite season followed by winter.
Spring is pleasant but it is followed by the bottom of my list summer. Really dislike the heat and humidity, the weeds and bugs and the noise of the lawnmowers, the constant A/C and it always fails on the hottest days.
Even at 80 yrs old I still prefer the cooler weather. Actually feel better during those months.
I was born in Iowa the last of December I love summer,hate fall and tolerate spring. Is there correlation between where you were born and what month? Who can tell
I wait all summer for November! Recently, Summers in CT have been long, brutally hot and humid, almost tropical. Hard to keep up with the yard and even perennials because weeds can grow over a foot in a week. Recent summers have also experienced incred number of ticks, mosqitos, gnats, other chewing bugs as well as flu bugs.
Autumn has changed dramatically, tending to be short, jumping into cold, damp, rainy days with one or two dry warm days.
Spring is virtually non existent here in CT Hartford County, a river valley which holds a lot of pollution.
May and June USED to have pleasant days for gardening, but of late have jumped early to hot and humid weather. The air conditioners cannot keep up! The rain and weeds, make it nearly impossible to mow…one tries to catch a day when the grass is dry, which has become exceedingly difficult, to mow, because it is wet all the time.
The weather reporters on the news are trying to convince us 98 degrees F with 100 percent humidity is “pleasant and dry” just because the sun is strong. My barometer , even the digital one, are in constant disagreement with television reports. The conflict between actual and television weather predictions is something for all of us to ponder.
We seem to go from the 60s right into the 80s, mid summer is a very long stretch of 95 plus 100 and humid.
Fall takes a quick and early dive in temperatures, from September 80-85 degrees and humid to freezing nights, damp 40-60 degrees, with no ‘ in between’ time …the way temps more gradually increased in the past. Those days seem over.
Global warming as the earth continues to be harmed. I wonder if it is beyond repair now.
I ponder whether future generations will even have decent growing seasons.
I left Connecticut 43 years ago and it was the best decision I ever made.
Hopefully you are in a warm weather state 😉
Why not Minot?
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?
I LOVE THE FALL AND WINTER.GIVE ME COLD.I HAVE COPD AND CAN BREATHE BETTER IN COOLER WEATHER.I WAS BIRN IN PENNSYLVANIA.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.