13 Jun Health effects of cold temperatures.
In case you haven’t noticed, it’s getting cold outside. Just ask anyone doing the morning commute, or wiping the frost of their windscreens. But what does the cold weather do to our wellbeing?
We all know that winter brings with it a charming cold/flu season, where we take it in turns to be the one with the runny nose. But it’s not actually the physical state of being chilly that leads to catching a cold. In fact, if you lived alone in Antarctica, you probably wouldn’t catch many colds at all. It’s being huddled indoors without ventilation (i.e. keeping the doors and windows shut to keep the rooms warm) that leads to a spread of germs. So for any cold you catch, you can probably blame your workmates and your excellent warm office conditions, rather than the freezing cold walk from the train station to the office.
On the plus side, the cold weather is good news for hayfever-sufferers, with the air pollen count at a year-round low. Flies and mosquitoes are taking a holiday too, which means less chance of itchy bites and the risk of disease spread by insects. It’s also a good time of year for accidental calorie-burning, because when your body is at a colder temperature, it is working harder to warm you up. However, all those hearty meals and Sunday roasts balance out the extra energy your body is burning – so go ahead and tuck into them guilt-free.
Although winter can have some health benefits, the colder months can also make it much harder to find the motivation to exercise, which can lead to a decrease in the immune system and general wellbeing. Make sure you get your body moving to keep it healthy, and to help combat those Winter Blues we all start to feel during the long, rainy days. Keep hydrated, as it is easy to forget your 2L of water every day when the sun isn’t reminding you. And try a few sessions of salt therapy, a relaxing and natural way to help clear the lungs and airways of congestion. Your body, your mind and your skin will be refreshed and ready to fight.
Look after yourself, and keep that immune system strong. If Frosty the Snowman can do it, so can you!