Woman sleeping under blanket.

6 Fascinating Facts and Myths About Cold Weather

If there’s one thing anyone from the midwest knows, it’s that our weather patterns are unpredictable. It can be 65 degrees and sunny one day and snowing the next--which is caused by our climate’s extreme temperature fluctuations and the level of humidity we know and (don’t always) love.

We’re breaking down some of the facts and myths about cold weather--because who knows when the next cold snap will be!

Cold Weather Facts You Didn’t Know

“Bundle up or you’ll catch a cold!”

“You lose most of your heat through your head.”

Everyone has heard these adages at some point in their lives--but is there any truth to them?

Why We Shiver

Shivering is an involuntary action your body makes in response to cold temperatures. By shivering, your body is able to warm up more than if you were standing still--in fact, shivering can increase your body’s warmth as much as three times the normal rate!

Frozen Feet

Ave you ever wondered why your hands and feet feel colder than other parts of your body? This is another way that your body reserves heat!

When you’re feeling cold, your body registers that it needs to take precautions. The blood vessels in your hands and feet contract when it’s cold out--this sends less blood to those areas so that your body can pump more blood (and keep warmth circulating) through your core.

Visible Breath

You’ve probably noticed your breath as a cloud when you exhale in the cold. Our breath contains moisture--when we exhale, we’re not only releasing our breath, but water molecules along with it! But why is our breath only visible in winter?

Cold air can’t hold moisture as well as warm air can (which is why winter feels so dry even when summers feel sweltering). When you exhale, the moisture in your breath isn’t absorbed by the air, causing it to condense in the form of a cloud.

Do women get colder more easily than men?

Fact or myth? It’s actually been proven that women feel cold more quickly than men do. Physiologically, women and men have the same internal temperatures of 98.6 degrees--but women tend to have less muscle mass. Why does this matter?

Our bodies generate heat while burning calories--people with more muscle mass burn more calories to move their bodies. Therefore, those with more muscle mass tend to release more heat. This is why people with less muscle mass may get colder more quickly than those with greater muscle mass.

Busting Cold Weather Myths

Given everything above, is everything your mother told you about cold weather true? Not quite.

Cold Weather Makes You Sick

If you ever tried to leave your house without three layers as a kid, you were probably told something along the lines of “You’ll catch a cold if you don’t put your jacket on!” As it turns out, that was a (well-intentioned) lie.

While it’s true that sickness increases in cold seasons, it’s not directly related to being in cold weather. If you tend to get colds more easily in winter, it’s because we spend more time indoors around other people-some of which have colds. Our immune systems are weaker in winter than during other seasons, which can make catching colds easier, but you aren’t catching any virus from chilly temperatures.

Alcohol Warms You Up

Some believe that when you’re cold, an easy way to warm up is to make a cocktail. Alcohol makes you more relaxed which may not seem like a problem, but can actually reduce shivering--a tactic your body uses to warm itself.

Whether you’re a fan of winter wonderlands or you prefer a sandy beach, Grapids Heating & Cooling, Inc. understands that cold weather outside can be frightful. Let us keep your heat on to make sure everything inside is delightful! Don’t wait out the weather until spring--contact our team online or by phone at (616) 223-6777 for furnace, boiler, and heat pump repairs.