Winter is coming to an end. For those of us living in the colder regions of the world, we know that staying active in the winter can be just as challenging as waking up in winter's sunless and chilly mornings. People begin chattering about getting their "summer body" ready. Why do people tend to put on a few lbs during the winter season?
Science has answers.
Why We Gain Winter Weight.
It's not all in your head. We gain weight in the winter for a number of reasons. If you live in a cold region that experiences the seasonal change of winter, you have probably experienced a small to medium weight gain. This could be a result of:
The human body naturally enters an insulin-resistant state throughout the winter months. This state helps our system remain more fuel-efficient and go for long periods of time with smaller amounts of food. This is a natural state connected to a seasonal event that we see in all vertebrates. This survival mechanism has been preserved for almost 400 million years of evolution and is essential to regulate metabolism.
In the winter months our brain tells our body to increase insulin resistance, our liver increases fat production, and our adipose and non-adipose tissues store fat to prepare. Some animals store food away for the winter, humans appear to store away fat in their bodies.
The insulin-resistant state we enter in the winter transforms into an insulin-sensitive state around late winter/early spring. The brain's command center (hypothalamus) is greatly affected by our changing circadian rhythm. Our brain tells our body to produce less dopamine (a key factor for insulin resistance). Low dopamine has also been associated with obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
Changing metabolic cycle.
Blood sugars rise in the early winter and fall towards spring. This is a result of our changing metabolic cycle. Despite the foods we eat and the activity level we engage in, it appears that the seasonal changes alone can affect our metabolism.
Embracing Seasonal Changes.
Spring and summer are quickly approaching and present a great opportunity to get active, get outside, and get moving. If you suffer from painful symptoms that prevent you from engaging in the physical activities you want to enjoy, check out our selection of Pain Relief Products today!
- Hatipoglu, Betul MD. How the Seasons Can Affect Your Body’s Metabolism. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/12/how-the-seasons-can-affect-your-bodys-metabolism/