As it has been getting pretty cold outside lately, you may have noticed yourself performing one of your body’s oldest involuntary reactions: shivering! The body’s shiver reflex is a response to the cold that happens only in warm-blooded animals such as ourselves. To produce the shivering effect, the muscles in the body contract and expand in fast bursts, which generates heat in our core.
New research is showing that shivering may be as effective as exercise when it comes to losing weight. Ten minutes of shivering can burn up to 100 calories, which is equivalent to an hour at the gym! Time to skip the cardio and go out and play in the snow!
DID YOU KNOW?
When our core body temperature drops, the shivering reflex is triggered to maintain homeostasis, a term that means balance in the body. Without this important reflex, our bodies might lose too much heat when in colder temperatures. This can cause us danger when being exposed to the elements.
Not every age group has the capacity to shiver. Infants and young children are unable to shiver. Therefore, it is important to keep them warm and make sure they are dressed in appropriate clothes for the weather as they have less of an ability to regulate their temperatures.
In addition, the ability to shiver becomes diminished with age. This helps to explain why the elderly demographic can be so susceptible to extreme temperatures of cold.
The next time you are out in the cold give some appreciation to your shiver reflex, as it helps keep you warm and safe from the elements and might even help when it comes to weight loss!