Winter Walking Better Than Gym Workout?

Walking in cold weather can replace a serious workout, as it forces the body to burn fat stores more intensively. This is the conclusion the Australian researchers have made during the experiment.


The work of the scientists from Australia showed that low temperatures help fight obesity. The experts have concluded that exposure to cold for 10-15 minutes exceeds an hour of training on a stationary bike in terms of energy expenditure.

During the experiment, the lightly dressed volunteers went to the room where the air was cooled down to minus 8 degrees. While the volunteers were there, the temperature dropped even more, eventually reaching minus 11 degrees. According to experts, at the temperature of minus 9 degrees, people’s muscles started to shiver from the cold, struggling with the loss of heat. Special sensors, attached to their bodies, measured the intensity of shivering.

The experts were convinced that the humans’ hormones developed in a special way while the volunteers were in a cold environment. In particular, the activity of the irisin hormone and FGF21 hormone was detected. The names of these hormones will say nothing to plain people, but the experts explain that both hormones are involved in burning calories intensely. According to the leading expert, Dr. Paul Lee, both hormones made white fat cells generate heat (that is burn accumulated calories), thereby performing the role of brown fat.

Then the volunteers were asked to work out on a stationary bike. During the exercise, the muscles produced the irisin hormone. However, people had to train for an hour until their body developed the same amount of irisin as the hormone formed after 10-15 minutes in the cold. This allowed the scientists to suggest that exercises were comparable with the processes, occurring in the body during cold stress.

It is not the first time the scientists notice the activation of brown fat in the body under the influence of cold. For example, last year, the scientists at the Karolinska Institute (Sweden), together with their colleagues from the University of Shandong (China) conducted an experiment with mice, exposing them to freezing temperatures. The researchers believed that exposure to cold would make the mice healthier. This idea was based on the opinions that brown fat helped to get rid of extra fat reserves. It appeared, however, that the activation of brown fat in the cold increased the risk of cardiovascular diseases, as it facilitated the floating of atherosclerotic plaques in blood. So you should be very careful with the statement that the cold can make you slimmer and healthier. This is useful not for everyone.

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