Health & Wellbeing

Study hints at fat-burning potential of exercising in the cold

Study hints at fat-burning pot...
A new study suggests that high intensity workouts in cold temperatures can assist increase fat burning
A new study suggests that high intensity workouts in cold temperatures can assist increase fat burning
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A new study suggests that high intensity workouts in cold temperatures can assist increase fat burning
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A new study suggests that high intensity workouts in cold temperatures can assist increase fat burning

A new study has found that braving the cold may be a good way to help burn off some of that Christmas pudding. The sample size may be small, but the research suggests the ambient temperature while exercising can have an effect on fat metabolism.

The research was carried out by scientists at Canada’s Laurentian University and focused on high-intensity interval training (HIIT), where short and intense exercise is interspersed with lower-intensity bouts. This format has grown in popularity of late due to the fat-burning benefits it brings, and the team set out to explore how ambient temperature might influence its effects.

More specifically, the team points to previous research demonstrating how HIIT workouts are better for lipid metabolism, or the breakdown and storage of fats, and the fact that ambient temperature is a factor in metabolism during exercise and rest. This led them to draw up a study investigating how HIIT, metabolism and ambient temperature may be related.

The study involved 11 “recreationally active” but overweight adults who took part in two HIIT sessions a week apart. One of these was carried out in a “thermoneutral” environment with temperatures of around 70 °F (21 °C), and the other at a frigid 32 °F (0 °C). The sesssions consisted of 10 separate cycling sprints at 90 percent effort lasting one minute apiece, followed by 90-second "recovery" periods of cycling at 30 percent intensity.

After each session, the participants cooled down by gently cycling or walking, ate a nutrition bar before going to sleep and indulged in a high-fat breakfast the morning after. During these sessions, the scientists monitored skin temperature, core body temperature, heart rate and the amount of oxygen delivered to the thighs, along with glucose, general oxygen, carbon dioxide levels and gas exchange levels. Blood samples were also drawn to help calculate lipid oxidation, or fat burning, rates following the breakfast the next day.

“The present study found that high-intensity exercise in the cold increased lipid oxidation by 358 percent during the exercise bout in comparison to high-intensity exercise in a thermoneutral environment,” the team writes.

The authors note that the cold conditioning had a negligible effect on the longer term metabolic responses, including blood sugar regulation, fat burning and triglyceride levels, once the high fat meal was consumed the next morning. Moreover, with such a small group of participants and data only taken from two HIIT workouts, the idea that cold temperatures help us burn more fat during exercise will need further investigation, though the first-of-a-kind study does indicate it's a possibility worth pursuing.

The research was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Source: American Physiological Society

5 comments
5 comments
Username
Any documentary on any Everett expedition already confirmed as much. There is a ridiculous amount of research going on to discover what is already known. In this case, if they had set out to quantify it, then fine. But they seem to be stating a discovery. Last week I read about a "study" saying the Kangaroo is the first non domesticated animal that will communicate with humans for help. Well the first known to the researchers but dolphins have been documented for doing so multiple times. That is just one example but the list is endless.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
This is a no brainer. The body, or any heat engine , will reduce output to manage heat load.
Nelson Hyde Chick
Duh, it is cold so you have to burn more calories to stay warm.
toni24
Exercising in the cold burns more fat. NO SHIT SHERLOCK, My old man splits firewood with a maul in below freezing weather and has done so for years and always lost weight during the Winter. Anyone who lives off grid or has lived in the country where their main heat has been wood and work around the farm also know about htis
Daishi
This one of the more frustrating things to me when I go into a gym that is like 75F. Sure as soon as I walk in the door 75F is OK but after I get my blood flowing and start doing something It's too damn hot inside. I tend to end my workout when I become sweaty and gross but that doesn't mean I don't still gave gas in the tank. I wish some gyms would have "cold rooms". If I won the lotto one of the things I would build is an indoor gym that's cold.