While the idea of cold is subjective, there is little doubt that dropping temperatures have an effect on the human body. Keep reading as Marla Ahlgrimm highlights a few of these.
On the bright side
Cold temperatures have a profound effect on the human body, says Marla Ahlgrimm. One of the most interesting is perhaps its ability to trigger weight loss. During the summer, it’s common to eat salads, fresh fruit, and other light fare. During the winter the body craves more substantial nutrition as it requires additional fuel to keep warm from the inside. Maintaining a summer diet when temperatures drop below freezing can potentially result in weight loss.
When you gotta go…
One humorous way the cold affects the body is by triggering a response to urinate. Marla Ahlgrimm nods to the ages-old parental conundrum of getting their children dressed for the snow only to have a sudden bathroom emergency. But having to pee even more during the winter is not a phenomenon unique to toddlers. As temperatures decrease, the body experiences something called peripheral vasoconstriction. This is essentially the brain’s way of keeping the body warm by redirecting blood to the core. During this process, Marla Ahlgrimm explains, the body experiences an increase in arterial blood pressure, which is triggered by a reduction of water from the furthest reaches of the body. This stolen hydration is redirected to the kidneys and bladder, resulting in the need to urinate.
Heart to heart
On a more serious note, Marla Ahlgrimm points to heart health as something to consider during the winter. Heart attacks are more common around the holidays, and it’s not just due to stress. Peripheral vasoconstriction also makes the heart work harder, which can result in a heart attack. As few as 10 to 20 minutes in the cold can put undue strain on the human heart.
More than falling temps
Finally, Marla Ahlgrimm notes the most obvious issue with the cold: accidents. Ice and compacted snow are extremely slippery and can result in falling accidents, which send hundreds of thousands of people to the hospital each year. So be careful how much time you spend outdoors, and watch your step.