How to stay warm: Scientist’s guide

Physiologist Dr John Eric Smith explains what to do in order to remain warm, to Helen Pilcher, BBC Science Focus. December 2020.

Pic: Hannah Morgan, Unsplash

Staying warm is a balance…

… between heat produced and heat lost. When we get cold, we often shiver because shivering generates heat. At the same time, blood flow is diverted away from the extremities, like the fingers and toes, to the torso. This helps protect vital organs, like the heart and lungs, and reduce heat loss to the surroundings.

Some people feel the cold more than others…

… even in the same environment. This is to do with size, fat and metabolism. Smaller people with less body fat lose more heat to their surroundings than bigger people with more fat. Bigger people may have more muscle mass, and are therefore able to produce more heat.

Need to know…

  1. Wear lots of layers – they’ll trap heat to help you stay snug.
  2. You don’t lose heat disproportionately through your head, but you should still wear a hat.
  3. Your mum was right! Take your coat off when you get inside.

Layering is critical

It acts as insulation because it traps warm air close to the body. Layers are easy to put on and peel off, helping you react quickly to changes in temperature.

Take your coat off indoors

If you wear a coat indoors and get really warm, blood gets diverted to the skin to help cool you down. If you then go outside, the cold air will sap this heat from your skin and leave you feeling colder than you would do otherwise.

Expensive jackets aren’t necessarily better

The price is often more to do with the weight and warranty than warmth. When Edmund Hillary climbed Everest, he wore wool, which is warm but heavy. Expensive jackets are often lighter, but the trick is to look for one that traps heat next to the body well. I don’t care if a jacket is synthetic or down, as long as it does this.

The head doesn’t lose heat more rapidly than the rest of the body

If you wore a hat and nothing else, you’d still lose heat from everywhere else! That said, it’s the one area we often leave uncovered in the cold, so wearing a hat is still a good idea.

Get active… but not too active

Physical activity gets your muscles working and generates heat, but it can be a double-edged sword. Too much exercise makes you sweat, which cools you down as it evaporates. So, you could end up feeling colder than before you started exercising.

Read here : https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/a-scientists-guide-to-life-how-to-stay-warm/

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Please follow and like us:

Get the TF Newsletter!

We have alot going on at TherapyFriends, and we put the hightlights into our monthly TF Newsletter for our valued subscribers.

Related Articles

Responses

LinkedIn
LinkedIn
Share

Keep in touch!

Get highlights of what is new and trending in our monthly TF Newsletter

Get the TF Newsletter!

We have alot going on at TherapyFriends, and we put the hightlights into our monthly TF Newsletter for our valued subscribers.

Sad to see you go!

Please let us know why you're leaving: