You May Also Like

Brooke Shields' promise to stay true to herself

The moment Brooke Shields decided to prioritize her sense of authenticity

Carrie Underwood's trainer's at-home ab workout

The at-home abs workout you can do during a commercial break, from Carrie Underwood’s trainer

year of the dog chinese new year

Happy Lunar New Year! Here are 5 things you need to know about the Year of the Dog

Social media doesn't hinder relationships

Social media may not hinder millennial relationships IRL after all

Secrets of people who never get sick

5 secrets for staying healthy this cold and flu season

You might still get sick with the flu shot

No, the flu shot isn’t fail-safe—but here’s why it’s still worth it

Feeling cold might be great for your metabolism, but your heart hates it


Being cold good for metabolism, but not heart Pin It
Photo: Stocksy/Milles Studio

When you step outside for that cold-weather run, be aware that some major changes are going on inside your body—some good, and others hardly so.

All that shivering from freezing temps actually increases the amount of brown fat in your body—which is great news for your metabolism, researcher Barbara Cannon, PhD, told Time. While brown fat burns energy to keep you warm, white fat stores energy from food. Since shivering activates the brown stuff, you end up burning extra calories.

While brown fat burns energy to keep you warm, white fat stores energy from food. Since shivering activates the brown stuff, you end up burning extra calories.

Not-so-minor detail: The cold is not as beneficial for your heart. In fact, it could even lead to heart attacks and strokes.

“When exposed to cold, the body tries to prevent heat loss by shrinking blood vessels, so you get increased blood pressure and heart rate,” said Shingo Kajimura, PhD. “This is why there are so many 911 calls at 3 a.m. in the middle of winter. Older people get up to go to the bathroom, and when they step out on the cold floor, that stimulates blood vessel constriction and stroke.”

So sure, you might see some metabolic benefits to hanging out in the cold—but when it comes to your pretty-vital-to-your-life heart, you’re probably better off staying nice and cozy in your overly fuzzy, hygge-approved socks.

Use this winter-weather map to plan your healthy travel. Or, stock up on these natural beauty products that are perfect for cold weather.