Could being really cold be good for you?
Nobody likes a frozen lump. So when François Haman tries to recruit subjects for his studies on the health benefits of uncomfortable temperature, he gets a lot, well… cold shoulders. And he doesn't blame them. "You're not going to attract too many people," says Haman, who studies thermal physiology at the University of Ottawa, Canada.
The human body is just lousy in the face of the cold. “I did surveys where people were exposed to 7 degrees Celsius [44.6 Fahrenheit], which is not even extreme. It's not that cold. Very few people could maintain it for 24 hours, ”he says. (These subjects were fully embellished: "Mitts, hats, boots and socks. And they were not yet able to sustain it.")
People struggle to stay warm or cool - not to move, and not to sweat - by changing temperature changes in indoor spaces. Easy access for the space heater or yell “Alexa, warm my ass!” the moment you feel a little discomfort. But maybe you shouldn’t tinker as much as the thermostat. Some reasons for mitigating the heat are obvious: About 47 percent of American households burn natural gas for heating, and 36 percent use electricity, which is still in the U.S. derives most from fossil fuels. And there may be other reasons for accepting the cold - health factors that doctors like Haman have begun to look for.
Before business was done, Haman says, "these margins were a part of life." Groups deal with cold in winter and heat in summer. “You kept going back and forth, and back and forth. And this may have contributed to metabolic health, ”he says.
Researchers know that your body reacts when it is cold. New fat will appear, muscles will change, and your comfort level will increase with prolonged exposure to cold. But what all this means for the health of today's people - and whether we can use cold effects to improve it - are still open - ended questions. One study is trying to understand how cold changes in fat or muscle can help stop a metabolic disease, such as diabetes. Another suggests that it's easier than you think to be comfortable in the cold - without exploding the heat.
For Haman, these are useful scientific questions because freezing is one of the oldest threats to our bodies. “It's cold, for me [one of] the most exciting stimuli because the cold is probably the biggest challenge that people can face, ”he says. “Although the heat is challenging, as long as I get rain, and shower, I will survive fairly well. The cold is completely different. ”
“If you can not work together,” he continued, “if you do not have the right equipment, if you do not have the right knowledge - you will not survive. It's as simple as that. “By discovering how our bodies change in response to such a strong and ancient adversary offering hints on how they work, and how they might work better.
Haman starts it all a day with a cold bath or shower. It is in a hurry because the cold causes the body to release hormones called catecholamines, which are involved in the fight or flight response. “I have that feeling Oh my God, I feel so strong, and I am awake, ”He said. “This is the kind of coffee I have. ”