Korean winters are colder than Maine winters

This is how your calorie consumption differs in summer and winter


Winter is known for making you sluggish and limp: while you exercise less in cold temperatures, you usually eat a lot richer and often more fatty than in summer. What role does our basal calorie metabolism play here, i.e. what our body automatically burns when it is at rest? In this article, we address this question, as well as the factors fitness and nutrition.

Humans have to keep their core temperature of 37 degrees as stable as possible in order to ensure that the vital metabolic processes can take place continuously. The body needs to be cooled in summer and warmed in winter. But which of these processes uses more energy?

The sweat glands have the task of keeping our body temperature low when it is hot. To cool the body, sweat is produced, which covers the skin like a film of moisture and thus provides cooling. Sweating is controlled by the heat center, which is located in our brain. If the temperature is too high, signals are passed on to the sweat glands so that sweat is produced.

In winter, when the ambient temperature is very cold, the body has to warm up in order to maintain its core temperature. To raise the body temperature, the blood vessels are tightened, which reduces the blood flow to the skin and increases the blood flow to the inside of the body. As a result, the hands and feet cool down and muscle tension increases, causing the body to shake. The muscles are moved rhythmically in order to warm up the body.

A lot of energy is needed to warm the body, but less to cool it down. In winter, when the ambient temperature drops, the calorie consumption also increases.

Also note that you are often more hungry in winter than in summer. At hot temperatures, lighter dishes such as salads, fruits and gazpacho are more digestible as they refresh and cool the body.

In winter, on the other hand, it is common to eat more abundantly. In cold temperatures, the body temperature drops, which also stimulates the appetite. When we eat something warm, the body temperature rises, i.e. food helps to warm the body. In nutritional science, this effect is known as thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is the generation of heat through metabolic processes. The metabolism is accelerated because excess energy is burned and given off as heat. This means that more calories are consumed.

The warm temperatures in summer literally invite you to go outside. Many activities are simply more tempting in summer, such as nice bike rides, swimming and paddling in the outdoor pool or lake, playing football or frisbee in the park, long walks or gardening. Additional energy is burned through these activities.

In winter, however, many of us prefer to make ourselves comfortable at home. Cuddling up with a blanket on the sofa and watching TV or reading a book is simply very seductive in cold temperatures. The sluggishness that winter often brings with it makes it difficult to find the motivation to get up and change into workout clothes. The lack of exercise reduces our calorie consumption.

Whether summer or winter, the calorie consumption varies from person to person. The energy required depends on many factors, for example men have higher calorie requirements than women. But age also plays a role, because the calorie consumption decreases with increasing age. This is because cell activity decreases with age. The metabolism is slowed down and calories are thus burned more slowly. This reduces the calorie requirement. Of course, physical activity is another important factor. If there is a lack of exercise, the calorie consumption decreases and those who exercise a lot need additional energy, i.e. the calorie consumption increases.

Regardless of the season, you should always make sure that you do not consume more calories than you use. While exercise can help you use up calories you have taken in, the best foundation is a balanced diet.


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