Do you feel more tired after running in cold weather? There may be a reason for that. Researchers have found that shivering in cold weather for ten minutes burns more calories than an hour of moderate exercise.
‘We identified two hormones that are stimulated by cold – irisin and FGF21- released from shivering muscle and brown fat respectively,’ said study leader Dr Paul Lee, from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research.
‘These hormones fired up the energy-burning rate of human brown fat cells in the laboratory, and the treated fat cells began to emit heat, a hallmark of brown fat function.’
Around 10 to 15 minutes of shivering produced as big a rise in irisin as an hour of moderate exercise, the scientists found.
If simply shivering burns calories, think how many calories a runner burns when running in cold weather. Not only do you benefit from the usual calorie burning effects of running, but your shivering muscles “fire up” fat burning hormones.
So if you ever find yourself not wanting to run on a cold day, think about this study and how many calories you’ll burn if you can get out the door.