Over the years, a few studies have proven that the cold burns more calories than usual. But can we say that the cold makes you lose weight? Is it advisable to be physically active when it’s cold or is it better to stick to a quiet walk outside? It all depends on your slimming goal and your lifestyle, but it’s best to take several precautions before trying to lose weight in the cold.
What is the effect of cold on the body?
When the cold outside threatens the body’s internal temperature, the body immediately sets up mechanisms to protect itself, known as “endogenous thermo-regulators”. The nervous, endocrine, cardiac, and respiratory systems then become more active to avoid hypothermia.
Cold immediately causes vasoconstriction of vessels on the surface of the skin to isolate it from vital organs such as the heart, brain, and kidneys. The heartbeat accelerates, resulting in an increased need for oxygen.
To increase heat production inside the body, two solutions are possible. The first is movements that increase muscle activity. The second is the possibility for the body to tap into fat tissue. Over a short period, cold is not a problem as long as the more fragile extremities are covered (fingers, toes, nose, ears). However, it can have devastating effects if the internal regulation system does not work properly.
Does the cold make you lose weight?
There is a popular belief that cold weather makes you lose weight. This assumption is reinforced by the fact that the body has to tap into adipose tissue to increase heat production in the body. This would, therefore, lead to an increase in energy expenditure. But can we go so far as to say that cold makes you lose weight?
While temperatures below a comfort temperature of 18°C can help burn more calories, there are absolutely no calories that can be lost through exposure to cold alone. It is estimated that, on average, a cold shower burns about 150 calories in 2.3 minutes. In addition to requiring courage, such prolonged exposure to the cold is not at all possible. Indeed, it would lead to the dangers inherent in a sudden drop in body temperature.
The cold makes you lose weight if it is used in addition to other practices. These are the same as in summer: a balanced diet and regular physical activity. The practice of a sport is however not recommended in case of extreme cold to avoid traumatizing the muscles. It is better to practice physical activity outdoors, at a temperature slightly below 18°C
The special case of cryotherapy
Today, more and more institutes are extolling the merits of cryotherapy to lose weight. But is it effective for losing centimeters in waist circumference, or for bringing down the numbers on the scales? Immersing your body at a temperature of -110°C for three minutes effectively allows you to burn about 500 calories during the entire session. However, this is not enough to observe a noticeable change. To get results you need to practice regular sessions with an adapted diet. However, it is necessary to be able to follow the budget: count about 350 euros for about ten sessions in a specialized practice.
Cryolipolysis attacks fat cells directly, but locally. Dedicated machines allow the affected area to be aspirated by diffusing a cold of approximately -10°C for 30 to 35 minutes, which has the effect of causing the self-destruction of certain cells, including fat cells.
Some brands have developed treatments inspired by cryotherapy. Fat cells are rich in saturated fatty acids. They are therefore more sensitive to the cold. Creams inspired by this concept allow acting thanks to the active ingredients they contain on fats. The Cellular brand, an expert in the field of slimming and anti-cellulite, has developed 2 innovative treatments inspired by cryotherapy: The Cold Slimming Gel for the Belly and Hips and the Cold Slimming Gel for the Thighs and Buttocks. This method of slimming by cold acts on the fat cells to burn the calories in excess. Results? You quickly lose inches!
Also read: When drinking water makes you lose weight