This article is Medically Approved ✓ by Dr. Edward Salko
Whether you love it or loathe it, the cold weather is here to stay for the season. With that comes the likelihood of developing illnesses like the flu, cold sores, strep throat, and common colds.
However, winter weather isn’t all that bad for your health and wellness. And if the cold doesn’t bother you at all, you’ll be surprised to learn of its positive effects on your body.
Aside from these illnesses, cold weather also has remarkable health benefits. But, naturally, you have to take your level of exposure into account to get these advantages.
For most, cases exposure should be limited to mildly cold weather. Expectedly, extreme weather can challenge your body to the edge. So, it’s always good to consider your tolerance to cold weather.
Nonetheless, here are some proven health benefits you can enjoy during the cold weather.
1. It Lowers Inflammation.
Low temperature reduces inflammation. That’s pretty much why we put ice or cold compress on injuries sustained, especially during a sports game.
For example, if you experience muscle strains, the coldness of the ice can lessen the swelling and numb the pain. This is because the low temperature tightens the blood vessels, which limits blood circulation.
Likewise, cold can also delay the inflammatory response in the connective tissue.
Hence, there’s a chance that you might experience lower rates of inflammation when the weather is fairly cold. But, of course, it’s a whole different story for arthritis that induces joint inflammation.
Nevertheless, for mild swelling, the winter weather can be very beneficial.
2. It Helps Burn Off Calories.
You could improve your metabolism during cold weather, considering you can burn more calories during the season.
According to research, a cooler temperature can significantly change your metabolism and the ratio of energy-burning fat to regular ones.
A crucial mechanism for this specific benefit involves increasing the number of your brown fats. You may have recognized how most fats appear to be whitish.
However, there’s such a thing as brown fats, which have plenty of mitochondria which are the part of the cell that processes energy. As a result, brown fats burn calories to produce energy and, by extension, heat.
Since the demand for heat during cold weather is higher, the body will painstakingly produce more brown fats, which boost metabolism and process the stored white fats.
3. It Helps You Sleep Better.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, then perhaps the cold weather can help you out. It’s general knowledge that you sleep faster and better with low temperatures.
Studies show that a colder environment affects the circadian rhythm.
Melatonin, the hormone responsible for your body clock, activates faster when it’s cold and dark.
Hence, aside from the temperature per se, the fact that during winter, nights tend to extend longer helps you get the amount of sleep you crave.
Moreover, as your body tries to preserve as much heat as it can, your physiological activity will be regulated, leading to drowsiness.
4. It Boosts Your Brain Function.
People sometimes feel like they get smarter during the winter. To some degree, this could be accurate considering the brain could have an increased function during cold weather.
According to research, cognitive tasks that include focus, reaction time, and verbal memory are carried out more efficiently during winter than summer. One reason for this is the varying utilization of glucose to produce energy.
During summers, your body will need more energy to accommodate mental processes. The heat can cause some imbalances in the body that diverts your cognitive functions to seek comfort rather than concentrate on the task at hand.
On the other hand, your body becomes more relaxed when the weather is cold. So, the energy can be invested in your mental capacity.
5. It Reduces Your Risks for Some Diseases.
While the risk for developing common colds, flu, and other respiratory diseases rises when the weather is cold, you also get reduced susceptibility to different types of diseases.
Health conditions typical during summer or warm weather will most likely not resurface during colder weather.
For example, since mosquitoes go through their hibernation, you have lower risks for dengue fever, Zika, West Nile virus, and malaria.
If you live in an area where these conditions are prevalent, you have the cold weather to thank for when they are reduced or regulated.
But if it’s the contrary, you may have to go through the proper testing to treat the disease like the Zika Virus Blood Test.
6. It Improves Your Immune Response Against Infection.
Sure, your body can acquire infections when it’s cold. This is particularly true with frigid weather. However, with tolerable low temperatures, you could get the opposite for your immune system status.
Moreover, if you develop a high tolerance to cold weather, evidence shows that you have a higher chance of developing a more robust immune system. In turn, your body can fight off infections and other related health conditions.
But before you push yourself to the harshness of the cold, take note that your chance of strengthening your immune system depends on consistent exposure.
Hence, if you put your body in a sudden thermal alteration, you may miss the health benefits altogether and get the opposite.
7. It Reduces Your Susceptibility to Skin Breakouts.
One downside of summer is that you get all these breakouts in your face. But during winter or colder weather, this wouldn’t be a common problem.
When it’s hot, your skin’s sebaceous glands usually open more to release oil and water. This results in sweating which essentially cools off your body.
However, when the pores are open, and sweat is all over your face, you become more susceptible to skin infections that cause breakouts of pimples.
On the other hand, your skin has a lesser need for sweating during winter. Likewise, the cold constricts the blood vessels that promote redness and swelling.
Therefore, you have a higher chance for flawless skin during cold weather than when it’s warm.
The Bottom Line
The cold weather may have some reputation associated with diseases common during this period.
However, we simply can’t deny the fact that low temperatures also improve our health in many ways.
But it is critical to ensure that your exposure to cold weather matches your tolerance. Otherwise, you might get the other end of the stick which holds the adverse effects of cold weather.
As researchers continue to explore the physiological effects of low temperatures, it’s clear that being in a cold environment is not the worst condition you get yourself into. That is if the cold weather isn’t extreme.