Not F-F-Fake News: How Arctic Cold Fronts Are Actually Good For Us
"There is nothing between the Northland and the North Pole but a barbed wire fence" someone once explained to me. No mountain ranges, no warming oceans to get in the way. We get fresh arctic air, not the used cold fronts that plague so much of America.
It has also been said that there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing choices. There's definitely truth to that. Warm feet (and ears) keep me content, and like anything else in life, you learn over time how to protect yourself with the right wardrobe for the weather - and soak up everything a Northland Winter has to offer.
But can you make the case that cold weather (in moderation of course) is actually good for you? Yes. Here is a short list of some of the advantages of aerobic shivering and what we have to show for it.
1). Beetle-killing arctic fronts. Invasive beetles that chomp away at our precious Boreal forests die off when the mercury dips to -40F. We need occasional outbreaks of numbing air to keep the North Woods healthy.
2). Relief from Allergies. Ask anyone who suffers from allergies if they're OK with winter, when there is far less sneezing and wheezing.
3). Pain relief. For the same reason we ice physical injuries and sports-sprains, cold weather can also help to reduce inflammation and pain.
4). Optimal brain-power. There is scientific evidence that we learn and study better when temperatures are cooler, with an ideal temperature around 62F.
5). Weight Loss. A growing body of research suggests being cold can increase your ability to burn fat. It may trigger “brown fat” in your body, a good fat that can burn off other “white” fat. Additionally, exercising in cold weather boosts your body’s energy expenditure for hours afterwards, so you end up burning more calories.
6). Cold fronts are heart-healthy. Caveat: shoveling too much snow too quickly can put your heart at risk, especially if you're not in great shape, but exercising outdoors in the winter makes our heart muscles stronger because they work harder to pump blood and maintain the body’s temperature. Endurance may also increase by exercising in cold weather.
Not convinced? Neither was I (at first) but cooler weather may help the quality and quantity of your sleep. And cold fronts keep more of us indoors longer during the winter months - more time to for social interactions, bonding with friends and sharing with family members, which helps to lower stress and relax us.
Well, most of the time. This week's chill won't be historic or record-setting, just a reminder that barbed wire fence I alluded to somewhere northwest of Hermantown. Then again, that may be an urban legend. Regardless, you can make a solid scientific case that cold weather is, in fact, good for what ails 'ya!