July 25, 2017
We all know the type. The people who shiver while everyone else is peeling off layers. The ones who complain about feeling cold when the temperature begs to differ. The ones sitting in a jacket when others are wearing short-sleeves. It may seem like always being cold is just an idiosyncrasy, but science can account for this strange occurrence.
The human body works to regulate its own temperature. You may notice that your coworkers who are always cold might be the ones that hardly move from their seats. Aside from the health benefits, this points to one of the reasons doctors recommend exercise — the more muscle mass and tone a person has, the more body heat is produced when that person is at rest. Women are actually more prone to chronic coldness than men, due to differences in physiology and susceptibility to underling conditions.
Aside from feeling the chilliness, remaining sedentary during the day puts a strain on your body’s normal functions. That’s why you may have noticed a recent trend in standing desks. If these are not for you, consider some other ways to keep your body moving (and warm) during the long work hours. Stand up and walk for a few minutes every half hour, or stretch your legs while you’re sitting down. Every little movement counts!
Internal organs (such as your heart, liver, and kidneys) are constantly working, and in turn creating heat. This “involuntary temperature regulation is orchestrated by the brain.” When your body becomes too hot or too cold, the brain responds by either closing or opening up blood vessels. These blood vessels close to conserve heat, which you probably notice in your hands, nose, and toes when they suddenly become freezing! And if too much heat is lost, it causes you to shiver. Your brain reminds your muscles to spasm in order to increase internal heat.
It’s good to know that our bodies are on our side, but what does this mean for our perpetually cold friends? Always feeling chilly may not merely be a symptom of too little movement. Unfortunately, it could indicate a more serious underlying disease, such as Raynaud’s disease or hypothyroidism. Other possible causes of coldness include a low BMI (Body Mass Index), a lack of iron or B12 in the diet, dehydration, not getting enough sleep, or even diabetes. With a wide range of causes, it’s a good idea to get checked out and get to the bottom of the problem.
If you happen to be one of these people, it can be scary to think that a health problem could be causing your discomfort. However, it’s important to understand that these causes can easily be detected, as well as treated. If you tend to pile on sweaters or jackets to stave off a mere breeze, or find yourself shivering during the day, it’s a good idea to have a talk with your doctor. Your coldness, as awful as it is now, could be cured for good.