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Researchers at the University of Ottawa say cold weather can actually be good for you

Chill out: Study says being cold is good for you

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Thursday, January 7, 2016, 5:04 PM - Cold temperatures are a part of life in Canada, and that may not be a bad thing. According to a new study by researchers at the University of Ottawa and the University of Sherbrooke, being exposed to chilly air may have some health benefits.

For their study, scientists used a cooling suit to analyze how cold effects the human body.

The suit maintains a temperature of 18C which, according to the CBC, feels like wearing shorts and a T-shirt outdoors in the fall.

The research team discovered two main health benefits.

First, cooler temperatures force people to use more energy, expending up to 500 calories per hour vs. the average person, who expends roughly 100 calories per hour. Second, when exposed to the cold, the human body appears to use "brown fat", a type of fat that produces heat and burns calories more efficiently than other types.

Denis Blondin, a post-doctoral fellow in thermal physiology at the University of Ottawa and author in the study, told CBC the best way to enjoy these health benefits is to "embrace" colder temperatures.

"We know by the end of the winter we get comfortable with it, we're OK with it and we tolerate the cold a lot better. I think we just have to get into that frame of mind sooner [in the season]," he added.

Source: CBC

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