To say that Canadians know a little something about cold weather would be an understatement. We know how to bundle up to protect ourselves from the coldest blasts Jack Frost can dish out, even though most of us moan about having to do so.
There’s a bright spot though. Studies have shown that there are distinct benefits of cold weather, so instead of wishing for temps in the high 20s all year, have a look here at what those winter months can actually do for you.
Increases brain activity. If you want to think more clearly, being in the cold is where it’s at. A Stamford University study concluded that it’s easier for most people to perform tasks that require making decisions when the temperature drops. Apparently, people are less inclined to make impulsive decisions when they’re in colder temperatures. Glucose fuels the brain, but the body uses more glucose in the warmth which leaves less “food” for recall and reasoning.
Get your calorie burn on. Old man winter has a way of making your body use more fuel. In other words, your metabolism has to work harder to keep your core temperature. People just generally burn more calories when the thermometer dips.
A Diabetes fighter. Cold weather activates “brown” body fat which produces heat. This little trick helps to soak up the excess glucose in your bloodstream. When you’re in the cold, it also helps your body to improve its sensitivity to insulin.
Easy sleep. The core temperature of your body lowers when it prepares for sleep. It naturally happens more quickly in the winter. It usually takes about two hours in warmer weather and far less in the winter.
A friend for allergy sufferers. Colder weather means no grass, pollen or weeds—all things which can trigger allergies. Pollination is at its lowest in the winter, and those who wrestle with allergies welcome the cold.
A tougher ticker. When you’re being more physical in cold weather, your heart works harder to maintain your temperature and to pump blood. That’s good news. Outdoor winter activities are great for the heart. Just be careful if you have high blood pressure. All things in moderation in the cold.
An infection fighter. Frigid temperatures can actually activate your immune system, staving off most infections, except the flu which thrives in dry, cold air. Staying inside all the time in colder months isn’t healthy, experts say. So, grab your toboggan, head to the nearest hill and have some fun!