Um, so All This Cold Air May Actually Help You Lose Weight

by Lexi Petronis

Kyle EricksenKyle Ericksen Well, at least maybe there's an upside to freezing your buns off right now?

According to research, regular exposure to cold air might help you lose weight. Wha? Well, the cool temperatures just might make your body burn more calories as it tries to keep its core temperature nice and warm

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One possible reason: shivering. It produces heat, which helps keep you warm--but it also makes you expend five times more energy than you would normally. Another? When temperatures plummet, your stores of brown fat--which burn more calories to fuel the body than other kinds of fat--are called into action. In fact, one study found that several hours of hanging out in cold rooms increased the amount of brown fat in participants' bodies while decreasing the amount of white fat--meaning the brown fat was getting busy burning white fat. And another study discovered that people who spent two hours per day in a room that was heated to about 63 degrees--for six weeks--lost 5 percent of their body mass.

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But don't go building an igloo to live in just yet! There are downsides to regular exposure to cold--including the fact that you get used to the cold temps and shiver less, never mind things like frostbite and, um, just feeling cold. But researchers are thinking that "temperature training" just might have its own role in weight regulation.

What are your thoughts--and how cold is it where you live right now?

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