Do Cold Weather Workouts Burn More Calories?

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Running athlete man, working out and training for box match

If cooler weather is your cue to hunker down in the gym, it may be time to rethink that strategy. The reason: Some studies show that you may actually burn more calories when you break a sweat in the cold.

There’s even a new boutique fitness spot capitalizing on this idea. At Brrrn studio in New York, the climate is kept between 45°F and 60°F. But does the science on this stuff actually pan out? We got experts to weigh in, plus offer pointers on getting it done.

To really understand this concept, you need to know a bit about fat. Humans have two different types of fat cells. White fat cells store energy from the food we eat and are also the kind that are associated with weight gain.

Then there are brown fat cells, which are considered good because they burn calories to heat our body. According to recent research, when we are exposed to colder temps, our bodies tend to produce more of these brown fat cells. It makes sense, right? They keep us warm, so we need more of them when temps drop.

Another reason this chilly workout trend is said to be effective: The cold causes us to shiver as a way of warming up—a process known as thermogenesis, which increases body temperature by burning more energy (a.k.a. calories).

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