Friday, January 3, 2014

Three Ways Your Body Battles the Cold

Temperatures are dropping to dangerous levels across the northern tier of the U.S. this week. Lower temperatures bring forth new hurdles for the human body to conquer.

Similar to how the body reacts to heat during the summer months, the body naturally reacts and attempts to acclimate itself to cold.

The most important factor in effectively battling and surviving in the cold is the body's ability to maintain its internal core temperature around 98.6 degrees.

A cold and wet environment is the most dangerous because this scenario causes the most heat to escape the body and makes it more difficult for the body to replace lost heat.

Regardless of weather conditions, the body will first exert its three major defense mechanisms in order to battle the cold.

How the Body Adjusts to the Cold:

1. Your Energy Expenditure Decreases

The body will inherently source and spend its energy levels differently in order to keep itself warm. During this process, the body will reduce some of its muscle contractions and reallocate the amount of carbohydrates used.

"As temperatures get a lot colder, your nervous system slows down a little bit and the impulses that move your muscles slow down a little bit,"
Founder and Head Coach at Runner Academy Matt Johnson said.

Simultaneously, the body will use more carbohydrates to produce lactic acid.

This lactic acid combined with the deceleration of the nervous system will force the body to slow down, so that it can retain heat.

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