Adapting to the cold

Your body does amazing things to acclimatise to the cold. Blood vessels constrict to reduce warmth leaving the body through the skin, which increases blood pressure and reduces oxygen to the heart. This increases the load on the heart so more energy is required. The affinity for oxygen to bind to haemoglobin in your blood increases in colder temperatures. Our body periodically will shunt oxygen supply to your extremities to conserve warmth and shivering will help your muscles to generate heat to warm you up.

In good health we shouldn’t avoid the cold. We should allow our bodies to acclimatise as there are many health benefits.

Exercise outdoors

Exposing yourself to the colder temperatures will help your body acclimatise. Exercising outdoors is  great way to this while staying warm. There is also the benefits of the sunlight helping with vitamin D production. However, if you do have high blood pressure this can be an issue. Its best to consult your doctor before spending to much time in the cold.

Reduce intensity

Winter is a time of conservation and storage. Exercise should bring about a better quality of life and ultimately longevity. Training too hard in colder temperatures is taxing on the body. As a general rule you can sweat a little but don’t get to the point of exhuastion.

Dress appropriately

If you are feeling the cold when you head outside then put on more clothes. Australian winters aren’t the coldest in the world but there is no need to feel uncomfortable. As you move around you will warm up and you can shed some layers when needs be.

Avoid big changes in temperatures

This means don’t sit in front a heater all winter. Its important to stay warm but this is preventing your body from acclimatising. Large and rapid changes in temperature can make you vulnerable to colds and flus.

Eat hearty warm foods

Your body will naturally want more hearty and delicious foods. Warm your foods and drinks and avoid things straight from the refrigerator.
Your body will also want to store fat to help itself through the winter. You will put on a bit of weight but now is not the time to prepare your summer body.

What are the health benefits of cold?

Many studies have been done on the effects of cold temperatures on the body. Below are some of the things we have discovered:
  • Increases in endorphins
  • Increase in white blood cell count
  • Increases in testosterone and oestrogen
  • Enhanced body’s response to insulin
  • Improves sleep
  • Enhances detox pathways