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Surprising Science

Cold Helps Speed-Up Metabolism, Aids in Weight Loss

It may sound uncomfortable, but several self-studies show a little cold will help raise your metabolism and aid in weight loss.

Here’s an interesting idea for loosing weight: Turn the thermostat down to 55 degrees (no extra layers or blankets allowed) and chill it off. The idea has some science to back it, though, it may be an uncomfortable way to shed some pounds. Your body burns more energy and fat trying to keep you warm.

This notion struck Wayne B. Hayes, an Associate Professor at the University of California at Irvine, to invent a garment to aid in weight loss. He wears what The Atlantic’s James Hamblin calls a “Han Solo-style” vest loaded with ice packs. It’s not enough to feel intolerable, but it did make Hamblin question if there were better ways to loose a few pounds.

Hayes claims he’s able to loose about 250 calories for every hour he wears the vest, which is now available for sale under the name Cold Shoulder. Some customers have said that it has helped them lose those pesky extra pounds when diet and exercise just weren’t enough.

The inspiration for the vest came from Ray Cronise, a former scientist for NASA, who has been studying the benefits of cold exposure and developing little lifehacks to get as much of it in a day. He argues that our ancestors never spent time in 70-degree weather year-round like we do today, so Cronise began measuring his metabolism levels after taking cold showers and shirtless walks in the chilly outdoor weather. He claims he was able to loose 26.7 pounds in six weeks, and it only took lowering the thermostat by 10 degrees to make the change—a home at 50 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit with no extra layers or blankets is enough to get your body to react. He even started sleeping without blankets, saying that blankets were invented because there wasn’t any heat. Now that we have heat, it’s more of a comfort thing. 

There are concerns over what kind of effects this regimen has on your skin and cortisol levels (a hormone associated with stress). But, in terms of weight loss, less food, some exercise, and a willingness to get a little uncomfortable might be a good regimen to take on in the New Year.

It may be a good idea to ease into this new lifestyle, though, rather than shock your system, starting with a spurt of cold water at the end of a shower and lowering the temperature to 65 degrees the first week. You’ll not only be bettering your health, but you’ll help save energy and reduce your heating bill.

Read more at The Atlantic

Photo Credit: Halfpoint/Shutterstock


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