Friday, December 18, 2009

Shivering - Cold Induced Thermogenesis

One of the main things that happen to people during the winter and exposure to colder temperatures is shivering. Knowing what causes it may help you to better understand the natural defense mechanisms of your body. While doing research on this topic, there were some simple things I learned that can be done to help your body generate more heat naturally.

Thermogenesis is the process which your body uses to generate heat and the generation of body heat is primarily the result of your metabolism. It is caused by several different things that increase the metabolic rate of your body above normal levels. This increase in your metabolic rate is often referred to as the thermogenic effect or thermogenic response. Thermogenesis is activated by several different mechanisms which include the type of food we eat, the amount of exercise our body receives and exposure to cold temperatures.

Various foods have different effects on the thermogenic response of our body. The metabolic rate for your body increases when you eat and generally accounts for approximately 10% of the heat generated by your body each day. One of the simplest things you can do to help your body generate more heat is to eat several small meals during the day. The amount of work necessary for your body to digest your food will keep your metabolic rate up and thus keep your body generating more heat on a consistent basis over a longer period of time.

Most everyone has worked up a sweat on a hot summer day. This is because the amount of exercise your body is getting has raised your metabolic rate. Along with warmer temperatures, this has caused an increase in your body temperature. Exercise in cold temperatures will also have a similar effect. That is why layered clothing that wicks moisture away from the body is crucial in the winter. Moisture also works to transfer heat away from the body. Simply keeping your body moving will help your body to generate additional heat. Once you stop moving and your metabolism starts to drop your body temperature will naturally start to go down.

This is when one of the natural defense mechanisms of your body kicks into action. Shivering is activated by your sympathetic nervous system and is an automatic response to a lower than normal body temperature. Your body will automatically begin to shiver and the heat generated by the friction between your muscles will then be used by your body to warm it up. If you get to this stage during cold weather, your body is going to need an alternate source of external heat very quickly.

I am by no means an expert on this subject. So do a little research of your own and learn a little more about the natural defense mechanisms of your body.

You can get some additional information about thermogenesis here:


Staying above the water line!



chinasyndrome said...

Hey R.W. good post on cold weather survival! Man from pics you show your part of texas must be beautifull. Merry Christmas to you and family.

riverwalker said...

To: chinasyndrome

Most people don't realize that shivering is a response by your body to try and warm itself.

Glad you like the pics...lots of really pretty country around here.



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