Is cold weather good or bad for your health? We’ve all been told to button up our jackets to avoid catching a cold and the colder temperatures usually are proceeded by an increase in the number of cases of respiratory diseases like the flu. This is often because colder and dryer air, like we have during winter, can attribute to the quick spread of flu-like viruses. That cold air can also cause blood vessels to narrow, which can increase blood pressure. But even still, there are some benefits to this time of year. While we all might be sad to see warmer temperatures go, colder weather can help our health.
- Cold temperatures kill off insects and microorganisms that can often carry pestilent diseases and other problematic germs. An all year-long summer might not be as fun as it sounds!
- Cold weather may actually help you lose weight. That’s a little counterintuitive, but colder temps can stimulate brown fat, which is more metabolically active. This fat is more commonly seen in babies, but is present in adults and is activated by colder temperatures helping us burn off more fat.
- Freezing temperatures can increase your energy levels. Even just short exposures, like a walk outside, can boost your energy levels for hours afterward. Making a habit of strolling around the block during your lunch break might make your afternoons at work much more efficient.
- The drop in temperatures can help reduce inflammation. Many athletes practice cryotherapy, the use of extreme cold in medical treatment, and those exposed to colder temperatures recovered from exercise faster than the others.
- We feel an increased appreciation for warm spring days. The variation in sunshine that winter provides can increase your appreciation for those warm spring days. Weather that infrequently changes can condition you and make you less appreciative.
So winter may not be all that bad. We aren’t expected to be out in our bathing suits, but snuggled up in comfortably fitting bulky sweaters instead. And though colder temperatures can push us indoors, it can also push us closer to our loved ones for game nights, movies on the couch with a blanket, or even phone calls that last longer because we have nowhere to be.