The bitter temperatures and near-constant precipitation this winter have brought out the grouch in most of us, but believe it or not, there are a few health benefits credited to cold weather. Avinash Viswanathan, MD, an internal medicine physician with Memorial Physician Services— Koke Mill, explains below.
- Cold weather stimulates more brown-fat burning, which is much higher in caloric content than white fat. This means you need less fat to increase your energy stores.
- Cold therapy has been proven to work a little more effectively than heat therapy for autoimmune inflammatory conditions.
- Cold weather tends to keep joints lubricated and movement is therefore less painful for the active individual. Cryotherapy, which is brief exposure to extremely cold temperatures, is now being experimented across the globe as a potential treatment for many autoimmune inflammatory conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis.
- Fewer bugs indoors and out reduce the occurrence of bites – both now and into the spring and summer.
Finally, if snow days and cabin fever have turned family togetherness into more of a family stress pool, Dr. Avi sympathizes. Just remember to look for the ray of sunshine in the polar vortex.
“In a farfetched way, families tend to be closer and less busy with external activities in the cold weather,” he said. “This can be somewhat of a benefit as it provides more quality family time and the much-needed emotional support some people need.”