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View Full Version : A quirky thought about the cold



Jens
2012-Jan-12, 11:57 PM
This may fit into the "how did humans sleep without pillows" series, but not really, just an idle thought really. I've noticed that when it's cold outside, people tend to tense their muscles, and I've found that doing that actually makes the cold feel worse. When I'm walking on a cold day and pretend that it's warm out, so I sort of relax my muscles, the cold doesn't feel that bad. I'm guessing what's happening is that the tendency to hunch up and tighten the muscles is a survival instinct, since it closes the blood flow to the extremities, and so what I'm doing is actually counter-survival instinct, but since it's not like I'm in danger of getting hypothermia from walking from the house to the station, and I get plenty of calories, more than plenty actually, it's probably a smart thing to do.

I sort of wonder, do other people feel the same way?

profloater
2012-Jan-13, 05:57 PM
I was taught to do that by a friend at university and have pretended it is warm ever since> I am sure it works the relaxation improves blood flow. Obviously it is not absolute but it is worth at least 10 C in feeling. Using the major muscles such as the leg muscles rapidly generates internal heat so open shouldered brisk walking is much better than huddled tense and miserable. It also works when sailing in the cold and waiting for buses.

Buttercup
2012-Jan-13, 05:59 PM
Yes.

BigDon
2012-Jan-14, 05:39 PM
The reverse of this technique also works. Give me twenty or so minutes to work on it and I can induce uncontrolled shivering in myself at an ambient air temp of 80F

I first heard about this in the sixties when I was in 6th grade. It's a relaxation thing due to the mind set you have to be in to get it to work. In windless conditions I've demonstrated this phenomena to others in 16F (-9C) weather by walking a mile in just shoes and shorts. And I was only barely shivering when I got to the cabin.


One weird side effect of practicing being that calm in the woods is you can sometimes walk right up to elk and deer without distubing them. To the point that if I suddenly get up in camp and say that I'm going out to see if I can touch a deer, two or three friends will get up with me to watch. If I "know" I can do it on a particular day I usually get to within 30 feet of one

The last time I did that a friend of mine got concerned for my safety and "ruined" the one time I actually tried to touch a grazing (browzing?) cow elk on her flank. I was so close that I was reaching out to "count coup" on her left hip with my bare hand and my friend Rob Mac, who was about fifty feet back, couldn't take the tension and called out my name (just a little). And the cow still saw him first.

Yikes did that change everything! Somehow I wasn't aware the elk was a 1200 pound wild animal until she got startled by my friend. She didn't even notice me at first until she moved off twenty feet of so. Then I was glad she was already heading away.

swampyankee
2012-Jan-14, 09:46 PM
Hmm...never particularly noticed that. But then, that's why they invented coats, hats, and gloves. And pants. Why do so many people seem to think that shorts and flip-flops are reasonable attire when the outside air temperature is significantly below freezing, disregarding the wind chill? We weren't weather wimps in my youth (sadly, not misspent), but we weren't stupid, and did place some value on our toes.

Tensor
2012-Jan-15, 04:07 AM
This may fit into the "how did humans sleep without pillows" series, but not really, just an idle thought really. I've noticed that when it's cold outside, people tend to tense their muscles, and I've found that doing that actually makes the cold feel worse. When I'm walking on a cold day and pretend that it's warm out, so I sort of relax my muscles, the cold doesn't feel that bad. I'm guessing what's happening is that the tendency to hunch up and tighten the muscles is a survival instinct, since it closes the blood flow to the extremities, and so what I'm doing is actually counter-survival instinct, but since it's not like I'm in danger of getting hypothermia from walking from the house to the station, and I get plenty of calories, more than plenty actually, it's probably a smart thing to do.

I sort of wonder, do other people feel the same way?

What is this cold, that you speak of? :p

redshifter
2012-Jan-15, 08:26 AM
I think the shivering is supposed to help keep your core temperature up/generate heat.

BigDon
2012-Jan-15, 09:56 AM
I *know* the shivering is to generate heat.

Swamp, mind you I was specific about conditions. Throw in wind and wet and all bets are off. I'm not THAT calm.