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Do you burn more calories exercising in the cold? Here's what the science says.

Physical activity and energy burn

Physical activity only makes up a small portion of your total energy burn. Percentages of calories you burn off in a day:

  • 60%- 80% account for energy used for basic functioning when the body is at rest.
  • 10% of energy is used to break down food.
  • 10% - 30% of energy is used during physical activity, of which exercise is only a subset.
  • Thermogenesis accounts for less than 10% of your total energy expenditure.

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Do you burn more calories exercising in the cold? Here's what the science says.

Do you burn more calories exercising in the cold? Here's what the science says.

https://www.vox.com/2017/12/23/16774320/exercise-in-cold-burn-more-calories

vox.com

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Key Ideas

Thermogenesis

A cold body uses more energy to keep itself warm than a warm body.

When we are cold, we shiver — the muscles involuntary contract to generate warmth. The body may also activate "brown fat", a kind of fat tissue whose primary function is heat production. Brown fat burns calories to generate heat. 

Exercise and heat

The processes of thermogenesis only kick in to keep you warm when you are truly cold. Exercising alone may generate enough heat that your body wouldn't burn any extra calories through shivering and brown fat.

The best way to use the cold to burn more calories would be not to exercise while you're outdoors or to exercise in light enough clothes in subzero temperatures.

Physical activity and energy burn

Physical activity only makes up a small portion of your total energy burn. Percentages of calories you burn off in a day:

  • 60%- 80% account for energy used for basic functioning when the body is at rest.
  • 10% of energy is used to break down food.
  • 10% - 30% of energy is used during physical activity, of which exercise is only a subset.
  • Thermogenesis accounts for less than 10% of your total energy expenditure.

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How The Body Uses Calories

  • Basal metabolism is the energy our body needs to keep our cells working and accounts for 65-80% of most adults' caloric consumption.
  • The thermic effect of food is the energy our body uses to process food and accounts for 10% of most adults' caloric consumption.
  • Physical activity accounts for 10 - 30 % of most people’s caloric consumption .

Controlling Your Own Weight

Not everyone overeats and becomes overweight, and not everyone who becomes overweight or obese develops illnesses like diabetes or heart disease. 

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Calories burned every day

The calories we burn every day include not only movement but all the energy needed to run the thousands of functions that keep us alive. 

Exercise and health

Exercise is like a wonder drug for many health outcomes: reducing blood pressure, reduces the risk of diabetes of heart diseases and slows developing cognitive impairment from Alzheimer's and dementia. 

But as for losing weight, it helps more in weight maintenance than in losing the actual weight.

Human energy balance

Exercise alone has a modest contribution to weight loss. But when you alter one component, cutting the number of calories you eat in a day to lose weight, doing more exercise than usual, this sets off a cascade of changes in the body that affect how many calories you use up and, in turn, your bodyweight.

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