Winter officially begins next week with the winter solstice—the day of the year with the fewest hours of sunlight—on Dec. 21. With the cold weather and shorter days, you might be tempted to curl up under a blanket until the spring thaw. Whether you plan to hibernate or get outside to enjoy the chill, we’ve got some good reads about how our physiology responds to the cold weather.
Check out these throwback posts featuring cold weather tips to help you stay safe and healthy during the coldest months:
- Shh…I’m Hibernating!—Hibernators slow their metabolism to conserve energy. Researchers explore how people with chronic fatigue syndrome may be doing something similar.
- Ice, Ice Baby: How Being in Cold Water Can Kill You—Learn what happens to your body during a plunge into icy water and get tips on staying safe.
- Don’t Be Cold-Hearted: Understand and Protect Yourself from the Cardiovascular Risks of Cold Weather—Big snowfall in your area? Read this post before you dig out the sidewalks and driveways.
- Stack the Deck Against the Flu—Learn about the common (and not-so-common) ways the flu spreads and get tips for avoiding it.
- Too Cold Outside? Try Out Polar Mammals’ Methods of Staying Warm—Learn how polar bears and other animals stay warm in temperatures as low as -40 to -76 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Why Do You Gasp for Air on a Cold Winter’s Day?—Find out why cold, dry air can cause breathing problems for exercisers and get tips for exercising in the cold.
Have fun, be safe and take note of how your body adapts to the season!
Stacy Brooks is the former director of marketing and communications for the American Physiological Society (APS). One of her favorite things about working at APS was learning about the interesting and important research that physiologists do and finding ways to communicate their science to a wide variety of audiences who benefit from these research advances.