Nowadays we don’t see so much snow in the Netherlands anymore. However, the cold also has disadvantages, especially for your body. Hein Daanen, professor of Exercise Physiology, explains which statements about the cold are true and which myths.
These truths about the cold can help you make the right decision when you go outside. So don’t take them with a grain of salt, but rather as good advice.
1. Food and drink affects your body temperature
Warm food and drinks raise the core temperature of your body. More blood flows to your limbs, making you less likely to get cold. Even after eating, your body stays warm for longer because you are digesting your food. However, alcohol is counterproductive. As a result, your body reacts less well to cold, even though you can suffer from it, which is very dangerous.
2. Slim people and women suffer more from cold
People who carry more fat with them are less likely to get cold. This is because fat retains heat better. In theory, there is relatively little difference in heat between men and women, but women are more likely to report feeling cold. This is probably due to the menstrual cycle. Shortly after ovulation, a woman will therefore feel warmer than before.
3. The head loses the most heat
This is not 100% fact, but not a myth either. If you pack all the way to go outside, including your head, your head won’t lose much heat. However, if your head is less well covered than the rest of your body, you lose heat faster. So it completely depends on how you dress.
Myths about the cold
4. Shivering and chattering teeth have no function for the body
In the cold, the body ensures that most of the heat goes to your brain and heart. To generate heat for the rest of the body, you may start chattering or shivering. When you do this, your muscles all make small movements that cause you to generate heat. So it does have a function: it keeps you warm.
5. Make little difference between outside and inside
This is a myth because you can be cold both inside and outside. Especially when you are cold inside, you will also be cold outside afterward. It, therefore, helps to dress warmly inside so that you retain more heat, then you have less chance of getting cold outside.
6. It is best to dress warmly when you exercise outside
Our body isolates us based on exertion. When you exercise, your body already warms up. On the contrary, it is better not to dress too thickly when you exercise, because then you are more likely to sweat. Sweat keeps your body cool, which is not necessary for winter. What is important is that you dress warmly after exercise so that you do not lose too much heat.
7. Vaseline helps against the cold
Vaseline retains moisture in your skin, preventing you from expelling it. All this moisture runs the risk of freezing when you’re out in the cold. That is why it is better not to smear yourself completely with Vaseline. A little on your lips or nose against torn skin can of course not hurt.
8. Socks keep you warmer in bed
Your core temperature indeed drops while you sleep, but your skin gets warmer. For many people, it is comfortable to fall asleep with warm hands and feet, but this does not affect the quality of sleep and your average temperature. If you have a lot of cold feet, socks can help you fall asleep more easily, but they won’t affect your temperature.