Have you ever wondered that do you burn more calories in the cold or in the hot temperature? Is the winter season the best for burning calories? We did our research about this topic to make sure we will give you the best and most compressed knowledge based on facts and studies.
As a short answer to “do you burn more calories in the cold?” Yes, you do burn more calories in cold because your body needs to warm up itself. The average increase of calories burned is 25% based on many studies. On the other hand, we have a hot temperature during summer when your body needs to cool down itself, and it’s mostly done by sweating, but that process isn’t as hard for your body as warming up is. There are ways you can use those processes for your benefit and get the most out of them so stay with us to learn more about them.
How many calories can you burn in winter?
Do you burn more calories in winter? Yes, but the numbers can vary on how long you should stay or exercise in low temperatures. We will describe it in detail according to a study from Cara J. Ocobock, which was based on 16 females and 37 males in the USA during the winter and spring seasons. They took part in the outdoor school with a lot of exercises like jogging, climbing, hiking, and rope skipping.
The results can surprise you, but in cold and temperate environments, both sexes lost significant amounts of body mass but not muscle mass.
The men burned on average 3822 calories every single day during the spring and 4787 calories per day in winter. For women, it was smaller but we also can see the difference clearly… it was 3081 calories per day in spring and 3880 calories on average in winter. In both cases, we can see almost the same results and that is the increase of calories burned daily by around 25% and it’s a lot.
To compare it to some other activities like weight lifting in the gym for 60 minutes, that can will let you burn about 350 calories. If your daily calorie consumption is 2000 calories and we add 350 calories from weight lifting then we have an increase of 17.5%, and it is still less than what we can burn during winter with simple activities like walking.
If 60 minutes of weight lifting can give you additional 350 calories is any sports activity even worth it? A McDonald’s small vanilla shake has 510 calories, and you can eat it in about 10 minutes. That’s a lot, and we shouldn’t expect to get fit if we don’t change our dietary way. Let’s forget about high sugar products and go for a fruitarian diet or a vegetable diet, those can help you lower your calorie intake.
Why is warming consuming more calories than cooling?
Your body always aims to get your temperature between 98°F (37°C) and 100°F (37.8°C). Your body has some flexibility with temperature, and there is some safe range that it can be in. However, if you get to the extremes of body temperature, it can affect your body’s ability to function. That range is between 95°F (35°C) and 107.6°F (42 °C) those two are the minimum and the maximum that your body can be in. If you go above that you can suffer from brain damage, and when you go below then you can have “hypothermia”.
So your body has a thermoregulation mechanism that can help you maintain the proper body temperature. When outside of your body is cold for example you go outside your home during winter with shorts and a t-shirt, that way your body will try to increase the temperature from the inside with mechanisms called:
- Hormonal thermogenesis
But when your body needs to cool down:
Your body is doing what needs to be done. But the processes to increase the body’s temperature are way more energy-consuming, that way it needs to burn a lot more calories.
When heating your body consumes the most calories?
Does heating your body burn calories? Yes, your body will consume a lot more calories in the cold weather. Your body can generate high temperature with every move of your muscles, but that will prevent your inner mechanisms from rising temperature. So if you stay in cold just sitting, that way your body will be forced to raise the temperature from the inside and it will need to burn calories for this mechanism to work.
It sounds weird but that’s how it works, doing nothing in cold temperature will help you burn additional body fat. Your body will also burn more calories even if you train, but it will lower the process necessary to increase the temperature from the inside.
Your body’s first response to cold is a shiver, when exposed to cold for too long your body tries to prevent heat loss by shrinking blood vessels which will lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure if you’re a person that has a problem why at least one of those then don’t try staying in cold for too long.
In summary – do you burn more calories in the cold?
Yes, you do burn about 25% more calories in the cold when your body needs to keep you warm, also you can increase that number if you don’t do any exercise then your body will have a lot more work to do to keep you warm, but that way you will be at your base daily caloric demand, so it works in both ways, but we highly recommend you to do some exercises like rope skipping which we found to be really helpful when it comes to burning calories.
Remember to don’t force yourself, and getting sick can be bad for your health so try to do it in moderation, but we also have a great article about food that you should eat when you have the flu.
Try to go outside even when it’s cold to toughen up your body, but don’t overdo it, overall staying healthy should be your priority rather than staying away from your house heater.