Cold adaptation

Discussion in 'Studies & Articles about Studies' started by flammee, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. flammee

    flammee Barefooters

    Mar 11, 2012
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    Here's some research of cold adaptation (although the main topic is about fat loss).. I find it interesting how little it requires to adapt a little bit - just ten days. Knowing it is this fast progress without any extreme exposures probably makes it a lot easier to keep motivated long enough.
    In the first study, researchers in the Netherlands showed that relatively mild bouts of cold exposure for as little as 10 days cause brown fat activity to ramp up, making you more resistant to cold temperatures and burning more calories in the process. The protocol: sitting in shorts and T-shirts in a room kept at 15-16 C (59-61 F) for 2 hours on the first day, 4 hours on the second day, and 6 hours for the following eight days.
    In the second study, a similar cold exposure protocol (2 hours at 17 C / 62.6 F daily for 6 weeks) increased resting energy expenditure and actually led to a decrease of 5.2% in body fat mass. A control group exposed to 27 C / 80.6 F didn't show any fat loss.
    For a much more detailed explanation of how this all works and what it means,check out Stephan's report. For me, the takeaway isn't that bad thermostat setting are causing an obesity crisis -- nobody is claiming that. Instead, the most interesting wrinkle is the finding in the first study that, after 10 days, the subjects reported much higher comfort ratings in the cool temperatures. Yes, modern conveniences like heating and elevators make our lives more comfortable, and yes, these conveniences increasingly seem to come at a cost to physical health. But doing without some of these comforts isn't as much of a hardship as you might think, because of the body's extraordinary ability to adapt. Taking the stairs or turning down the thermostat a few degrees might seem like a shock at first -- but if you stick with it, you won't even notice it after a while.
    While Wim Hof's iceman stuff has more impressive outcomes, it's also much harder, I tried it a little last winter, my motivation didn't quite last long enough. Maybe I was trying to reach too high, because for me it would be very cool to be able to comfortably sit in shorts and t-shirt at +19°C.. That would lengthen my indoors shorts and t-shirt season something like 10 months. ;) I can run shirtless at +5°C, but sitting and being still is quite different for me.

    I would guess that whole body cold adaptation would be good for barefooting at cold weather. If you are able to produce more heat, there's more heat to distribute to feet..
    Bare Lee, Sid, scedastic and 4 others like this.
  2. Barefoot YOW

    Barefoot YOW Barefooters
    1. Canada
    2. International

    Nov 6, 2010
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    Thanks for the link to the article. I agree with you that sitting for an extended time would be difficult. (just sitting still for hours would drive me nuts). Interesting to know that adaptation can occur in only 10 days. This would explain why running at 0°C in November feels so much colder than in January. The human body has an amazing capacity to adapt. We've mastered living in deserts, mountains, jungles, and the arctic. Temperature is relative. What I find hot/cold is very much different than someone who lives 1000 km south.
    Bare Lee, swoggis and DNEchris like this.
  3. mokaman

    mokaman Chapter Presidents
    1. Georgia

    Apr 3, 2010
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    I do the cold adaption thing regulary but with a twist...when its really cold I put the thermstat lower like 59- 61 but when it warms up i raise the thermostat to follow so there is like a change to follow the night and day. Not crazy about where it is set but generally set it way low at night and bring the temp up slowly during the day then back low in the eveneing. I do spend some time in just a tee-shirt and shorts at the low temps...its not hard to adjust really but I think the back and forth low to hi and back and forth is even better than just all cold or all warm.
    Bare Lee likes this.

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