It appears that winter is over, so I’m ready to file my report on project No Jacket Required. To bring the new readers up to speed, this past winter I tested aggressive cold weather exposure on myself. From that post back in December:
On an average day, I am now spending between 1 to 2 hours outside. As temperatures gradually dropped from summer 70s to the current mid 40s, I have remained in short-sleeved shirts. If the wind is strong, Ill add a thin fleece on top, but that has only happened once so far this season.
Other than the Seattle snowstorm, I went this entire winter wearing at most a long sleeve shirt. On most days, even those that got into the low 30s, I remained in a short sleeved shirt. What did I learn?
- The body is fully capable of acclimating to cold temperatures. The first few minutes are always the worst.
- My hands never got used to the cold and would get numb in cold weather. Wearing gloves or putting them in my pockets was essential.
- Movement is very important. The body does not appreciate standing still in cold weather. Even a slow walk is enough to keep warm or at the least, not be painfully cold.
- Respect the wind. It will chill you to the bone faster than cold temperatures. Limit exposure on windy days.
Me during the snow storm wearing just a tee-shirt and a sweater.
Some people think I am a lunatic for trying this, but I really enjoy the freedom of knowing that I pushed my comfort zone almost 30 degrees. When I first moved up from San Diego, I would be uncomfortably cold in the low 60s. Now I head out of the house wearing a golf shirt with no fear of what the weather can throw at me. If it starts to rain, I have a rain jacket packed inside my back pack.
I didn’t catch a cold or flu this entire winter. My last winter in San Diego I was sick a lot.
I didn’t gain any fat this winter. That is a first. Although that is most likely from another reason, which I will save for another post.
Besides sheer will power, I had two things going for me on cold weather exposure that others might not have.
- Male and a higher amount of muscle – higher metabolism.
- I do Weight Training 2-3x a week. The result is Uncoupling Proteins throwing off heat.
I still think anyone can benefit from some cold weather exposure. It doesn’t need to be as extreme as what I did. Stay out in the cold longer and wear fewer layers. You’ll get used to it. You’ll be fine.