Hanging out in cold weather can be beneficial! Christopher Minson is a physiology professor at the University of Oregon, who studies the body’s response to extreme environments and works with Olympic athletes. And Dr. Minson says, when we push our bodies out of their thermal comfort zone, our metabolic rate goes up, our heart works a little harder, and every single cell in the body is challenged a little bit, just like with exercise.
So, here are some expert tricks to “train” yourself to endure colder weather, longer:
First, get acclimated to the cold. Say, by gradually lowering the thermostat in your home, or wearing fewer layers when you walk the dog. Dr. Minson says, as your body gradually adapts to cooler temperatures, studies show that’ll have a positive impact on your brain - improving cognitive function, including attention and memory.
Then, give yourself a blast of cold water. Dr. Minson says your body temperature cools about three times faster in cold water than in cold air. So, even if you end your showers with a 30 second blast of ice-cold water, you’ll be TRIPLING the health benefits. In a study of athletes, those who took daily cold showers consistently showed signs of better cardiovascular health than those who took hot showers.
Now, this advice isn't for the elderly or those with cardiovascular conditions. But if you’re generally healthy, try embracing the cold!