Good news for cold skaters!
Sonia told me today that she learned that shivering burns calories! I’d read something to that effect in an article in the N.Y. Times that said that shivering revs up your metabolism and helps change your body composition. Studies are showing that shivering produces muscle contractions that increase the production of a hormone called irisin, which may well be a key to converting “white” to “brown” fat.
Brown fat, which is abundant in newborns and in hibernating mammals, helps generate body heat. It also supposedly burns additional calories in this process. Studies have suggested that both exercise and shivering produce higher levels of irisin in the blood, which means that those of us who exercise in the cold double our chances to turn fat cells from the detested white fat to something that behaves like brown fat. I think they call it “beige” or “brite” (brown in white) fat.
Upon hearing this, I immediately stripped off that extra layer!
Sonia and I were joking about ways to make ourselves shiver to get that irisin bonus. I have noticed that I have gained a few pounds in the past year and a half, even though I’ve continued to skate regularly and my eating habits have stayed about the same. I thought it was just because I’m no longer doing a lot of free dance run-throughs and pattern dances, which meant more aerobic work. That may well be, but I’ve probably lost any additional beige fat I may have had by no longer wearing skating dresses on a regular basis. In fact, lately I’ve been bundling up to skate, sometimes putting on a turtleneck and a fleece jacket and a down jacket to boot. (I’m a wimp when it comes to being cold at the rink).
Okay, it’s shiver time. I figure it’s worth a try, if only to be able to have that extra cookie.
I will report back if I’m not shivering too hard. Or laughing too hard. Or both!
I was told by Marianne that I needed to write a post about how “skating is hard.” So here’s what a few folks were saying at the rink today (hover over or click on the picture for the caption).