CPR First Aid

Do You Burn More Calories in the Cold?

Burning more calories may be one of the many goals of people in Perth who are into fitness. The next question may be, is it possible to burn more calories in the cold? Would they achieve their fitness goals quicker if they spend more time in the cold? Let’s find out below if this is possible.

Does Exercising in Cold Weather Burn More Calories?

According to the American Sports and Fitness Association, exercising in cold weather burns more calories than doing it in warm weather. It is possible because, in cold weather, a person may end up shivering, and this is the body’s response to keep the body warm. For this to happen, additional processes are being done in the body which require calories. The more calories are needed to keep up with cold weather, the more calories are burned.

Exercising in cold burns more calories than warm. Shivering keeps body warm, burning more calories.

What is Shivering?

The Encyclopedia defines shivering as a type of thermogenesis that involves repeated rapid contractions of antagonistic sets of skeletal muscles. When this happens, there is little net movement produced for the chemical energy to be converted to heat rather than mechanical work. 

Why Does Shivering Burn More Calories?

When someone shivers, his/her body’s thermogenesis process becomes more efficient at burning stored fat to be used as fuel to regulate body heat. According to the Health Sciences Academy, shivering stimulates a hormone (Irisin) that promotes the browning of fat to release energy. This process alone is already burning calories, and when fat is transformed into energy, there may be an occurrence of weight (fat) loss.

What is the Thermogenesis Process?

Steel Fit says that thermogenesis is a metabolic process wherein a person burns calories for the body to generate heat. One of its types is shivering as defined above, and the other is Nonshivering thermogenesis. This process occurs in fat cells (adipose tissue) wherein there is a breakdown of stored fat to generate heat in situ instead of its being transported to the liver for conversion to ATP. This process is activated by the sympathetic nervous system.

What is Irisin?

Irisin is a hormone released in the muscles. Aside from the process it does as mentioned above, it also:

  • Improves glucose tolerance in the body (helps prevent diabetes).
  • Slows down a person’s ageing process.

This hormone was recently discovered in 2012 by Harvard Scientists.

How many Calories are Burned in the Cold?

The Health Sciences Academy states that the calories burned by shivering for 10-15 minutes are equal to calories burned from bicycling for one hour. However, the exact number may not be defined as many factors affect how many calories are burned when bicycling.

Shivering 10-15 min equals cycling 1 hr, per Health Sciences Academy. Exact calorie burn varies with biking factors.

How many Calories are Burned When Bicycling?

An average person may burn 420 to 750 calories from one hour of bicycling according to Calories Burned HQ. It may be affected by a person’s weight, location, speed, and distance.

How does Weight Affect the Number of Calories Burned?

In calculating the number of calories burned when bicycling, weight is an important factor to consider. Because the weight determines the unit of calories burned in bicycling as well as in doing other exercises. The weight of an average Australian man is 85.9kg and 71.1kg for a woman according to ABS. Those who have a higher weight than these may burn more calories as it takes them more energy to carry their weight. So the heavier the person, the more calories are burned when he/she is bicycling. Therefore, more calories may be burned too when they shiver in the cold.

How Does the Location Affect the Number of Calories Burned in the Cold?

Outside biking may allow you to burn more calories compared to stationary biking. Because if you go bicycling outside, you may be required to do other things that also burn calories like:

  • Being aware and alert of the surroundings.
  • Variety of movement from following roads and paths.
  • Inclines such as hills.

Healthline mentions that outside and stationary biking that is done at a moderate pace may burn at least 420 calories/hour for an average-weighted person. So, a person may also burn 420 calories from 10-15 minutes of shivering in the cold.

How Does Speed Affect the Number of Calories Burned in the Cold?

Harvard University states that in one hour:

  • 596 calories are burned by a 70kg person bicycling at a moderate speed of 19km-23km/hr.
  • 744 calories are burned by a 70kg person bicycling at a faster speed of 22km-24km/hr.

Bicycling at a faster speed has been found to burn more calories as the body uses more energy to go faster. The above number of calories may also be the same as how many calories are burned in the cold.

How Does the Distance Affect the Number of Calories Burned in the Cold?

It is said that bicycling for a longer distance burns more calories the most. Calories Burned HQ set the following estimate of calories burned by a 79.4kg-person at different distances:

  • 48.3 km – 1,667 calories.
  • 32.2 km – 1,111 calories.
  • 24.2 km – 833 calories.
  • 16.1 km – 556 calories.
  • 8 km – 278 calories.
  • 4.8km – 167 calories.
  • 1.6 km – 56 calories.

These were calculated if a person was bicycling at a speed of 19km/hour.

Is Being in the Cold More Often an Effective Way to Lose Weight?

As mentioned above, being in the cold may initiate shivering to keep your body warm, which causes more calories to be burned. However, Discover Magazine concludes that shivering in the cold is not an effective way of losing weight sustainably. It was derived from the results of the many studies featured in their blog. One of them resulted in the participants only losing weight during a workout that mimicked shivering. The fat-burning benefits disappeared once they rested again.

Is there a Harmful Effect of being in the Cold?

Even though the body uses shivering as a response to the cold, its stored energy may end up being all used up. When this happens, it may lead to hypothermia, wherein the body’s temperature drops at an abnormally low rate. If not treated with first aid, it may lead to serious complications like a complete failure of the heart and/or respiratory system. If these are left untreated, they may cause a person’s death.

Body shivers in cold; energy depletes. May lead to hypothermia: low body temp.

What is the First Aid for Hypothermia?

Following are the first aid practices that may be followed to treat a person having hypothermia:

  1. Check their airway, breathing, and circulation.
  2. If possible, move them to a warmer area. Then, change any of their wet or constricting clothes with dry ones.
  3. Rewarm the person with any of the following:
  • Use a foil or a space blanket to cover them.
  • Use your body heat to warm them.
  • Use warm compresses (may be on the neck, chest, and groin).
  • Give them warm, and non-alcoholic sweet fluid.

Calling for emergency help is advised especially if the first aid step is not done. This step may be done with the proper skills and knowledge in providing a first aid response. Such are life-saving in emergencies like hypothermia and may be learned from a first aid course in 123C Colin St West Perth 6005.


Temperature has a lot to do with burning calories. You burn more calories in the cold since shivering is initiated to keep the body warm. For shivering to be done, more energy is required so more calories are burned. Shivering for 10-15 minutes may be equal to one hour of bicycling. This exercise burns at least 420 calories per hour depending on several factors.

However, even though being in the cold allows the body to burn more calories, it is not an effective way of losing weight sustainably. Especially that it may lead to hypothermia which may be life-threatening, especially if not treated with first aidIf you are looking for an extra kick to burning those calories – apart from exercise, you may be interested to look into the effects of ice water and hot water.

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