You are not a winter person and low temperatures make you shiver? Don’t fret just yet – it could do wonders for your figure as working out in the cold can apparently help you shed kilos more quickly.
White fat is used to store your extra energy, but having too much of it can lead to obesity. Brown fat, on the other hand, is the kind you want.
It burns energy to help maintain body temperature and it is nature’s way of keeping us warm. However, brown fat reduces as we age and that’s why you want to work on increasing it as you get older.
Latest US research has shown that increasing your brown fat helps you lose weight, while it also decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
But What Does Exercising In The Cold Has To Do With It?
Back in 2014 one Australian scientist Dr Paul Lee, Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research, conducted a study entitled “Impact of Chronic Cold Exposure in Humans”, and he found that sleeping in the cold results in an increase in brown fat and speeds up metabolism.
Lee monitored five men who slept in rooms set to various temperatures. After just one month in a mildly cold room of 19°C, covered only by a bed sheet, they had a 42% increase in brown fat volume, while their fat metabolic activity increased by 10%.
And that’s where working out comes in.
“The Shiver Workout”
The best part is that you don’t even have to have a proper exercising session in cold temperatures (although that would be ideal), you can simply just shiver for 15 minutes outside on a daily basis.
According to Lee, this method has been proven by scientists to be rather effective for weight loss.
“When we’re cold, we first activate our brown fat because it burns energy and releases heat to protect us. When that energy is insufficient, muscle contracts mechanically, or shivers, thereby generating heat,” says Lee.
He also claims that 10-15 minutes of shivering can be just as effective as an hour of moderate exercise. These “shivering” sessions will increase your levels of the hormone called irisin, which is produced by our muscles and stimulates the conversion of energy-storing white fat into energy-burning brown fat.
“We speculate exercise could be mimicking shivering because there’s muscle contraction during both processes, and that exercise-stimulated irisin could have evolved from shivering in the cold,” Lee says.