It might make sense to think that your body has to work harder to keep itself warm, so you should burn more calories. Personally, I am one of those folks who not only shivers when cold, but my teeth can get into a full blown chatter . . . and really not stop for quite a while. Surely that should count for something?
In fact, shivering does burn calories — that involuntary tensing of muscles to warm the body burns about 200 for every 30 minutes. So if you’re not wearing enough layers and you’re cold while working out in low temps, your body burns more calories to keep warm. Once you get moving and have your body warmed up, it seems to all be the same. This is a little different for folks exercising outdoors where it snows. They get an extra calorie burn from the added resistance of walking through the snow, snowshoeing or skiing.
According to a University of Utah study reported on by the New York Times, basal metabolic rate (that’s how many calories you burn just by existing, without expending any energy) does increase ever so slightly in colder temperatures — which means just trying to stay warm requires more work from your body. And it increases noticeably if you get so cold that you begin to shiver, which is actually quite a bit of work for your body. So, I’m thinking last Friday night while I was outside cold and shivering at a highschool football game, I could have burned some extra calories.
But, once the body gets moving it does a good job of keeping itself warm, so it’s a really small and short lived calorie burn! Getting outside today for some exercise will give us a slight boost in the cold weather as our bodies warm up, but it’s definitely not enough to make up for the sweet potato souffle, dressing, squash casserole and Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart I consumed. However, I always say, “a little of something is better than nothting!”
If you are outside in the cold, check out this earlier post for good tips.
Also, if you find yourself walking more for your exercise throughout the Holidays, or on a treadmill indoors here’s a good workout from Tina Reale I saw this morning. She has a great website and shares some doozie workouts.
Do you exercise outdoors in the cold? Do you begin to hibernate when the temps drop? What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?
Today I’m thankful my family all gathered around our table for a Thanksgiving meal, even though a little early AND I’m thankful my cooking is over for a while!
Make it a GREAT Day!