Cold weather? I can take it.

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eskimo meme.jpg

"It's 20 degrees out, and you're in a tee-shirt. How are you not freezing?!"
"Eh, I'm not that cold. I'm from Vermont, so I'm used to it."

Have you ever heard someone say this and wonder if their body temperature was actually warmer, or more acclimated to cold weather due to where they live? Or is it all psychological?

I found an interesting article titled, "Adapting to Climate Extremes", which talks about how the body adjusts to weather.  When humans are in very cold environments, the body has the ability to reduce heat loss and increase heat production. Biologists Carl Bergmann and Joel Allen noticed "the human physiological response to cold commonly includes the evolution of more massive, compact bodies with relatively less surface area" (Dennis O'Neil This shows that in predominantly cold areas of the world, humans have evolved to preserve more body heat, which occurred over a very long period of time. But the article also states there is a "short term acclimatization to the cold that also occurs." The body's initial reaction to the cold is called vasoconstriction, where the blood vessels near the surface of the skin constrict in order to reduce blood flow, thus cooling the skin and preserving body heat. Conversely, if the body undergoes excessive vasoconstriction, the soft tissue can actually freeze, also known as frostbite. If the skin gets frostbite, the body's natural response is to dilate the blood vessels to increase the flow of warm blood near the affected area of the skin. This mechanism is known as vasodilation. The body now does not know whether to conserve body heat or warm the freezing skin, so it cycles between vasoconstriction and vasodilation. This is commonly known as hypothermia, and can result in death.

As far as I've researched, besides long term evolution in extreme geographical climates, there is no evidence that just because you've lived in Vermont your whole life does not mean your body reacts differently to cold weather; it is, in fact, only psychological.

1 Comment

I was actually going to look up and write an article on this! Being at penn state, I know it gets very cold and was wondering how people who are constantly in cold climates do it. It makes sense that your body can adjust to the climate and the cold. For me, I am constantly cold and have to wear many layers and insulation.
^ here are some coping skills if your body does not adjust to the cold.

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