Shivering as good as exercise for producing "good" fat
Shivering for 10 to 15 minutes a day may help convert the body’s “bad” fat to the “good” kind, according to new research.
Previous studies have found that when humans are subjected to cold temperatures, “good” fat is activated to burn energy and release heat. When the fat cannot release enough heat, muscles begin to shiver to produce more heat. However, the mechanisms by which muscle and fat communicate have been unknown, so the scientists focused their research on trying to understand this relationship.
The researchers recruited a group of volunteers, whom they asked to perform various exercise tests. The researchers examined how hormones were released by muscles during exercise versus how they were released when shivering. They found that when the volunteers shivered for 10 to 15 minutes, their muscles released the same amount of a hormone called irisin as they did after bicycling for one hour. The hormone irisin increases energy-burning rate of “bad” fat cells and helps convert them into “good” fat cells.
Researchers are still hypothesizing why shivering produces similar effects as exercise does, but they said that with further research, the findings could lead to new treatments for obesity.