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Exercising in cold temperatures can help you lose more weight

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Some new research shows working out in cooler temperatures could help in losing weight.

Eyewitness News looks into the details on how a newly discovered fat cell could help people shed some pounds.

Researchers told Eyewitness News this time of year might be the perfect time to slim down.

Scientists from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston found an energy-burning fat called "beige fat" that can boost the amount of calories burned in cold weather.

"They're just now at the beginning of the science of temperature-related weight loss," said Dr. Spencer Erman, who works at the Hartford Hospital. "We know that beige fat can help increase body temperature and burn off calories."

The experts said by turning down that thermostat, you can help those fat cells react to change by making them generate heat.

They aren't sure why this happens because the research is still in the early stages; however, it could help people reach their weight-loss goals.

Doctors said there isn't an exact temperature that makes those fat cells into calorie torchers.

"It ranges anywhere from 63 degrees up into the 80s, depending on the person, their size, their fitness level," Erman said. "The idea is they've never shown in study in humans that there is an ideal temperature. It's what works for you."

The trick is to stay cool. If a person plans on braving the cold, let the body fully adjust to that winter chill.

"If you're going outside running, and you're all bundled up wearing a jacket and scarf and gloves and heavy socks," Erman said, "you're not taking advantage of the temperature. You need to exercise in that ambient temperature."

Before a person heads outside to exercise, there are a few things to keep in mind when working out in the cold: 

  • Keep your fingers, toes and other limbs warm
  • Drink lots of water because it's easy to become dehydrated during the winter.
  • Beware of hypothermia and frostbite

Many people still need to muster up the drive to exercise on the chilly days.

Sasha Frishman, who is a cyclist and triathlon competitor from New England Athletic Center, said the biggest challenge is winter weather can blow many people's motivation.

"Getting the sneakers on is the hardest part," Frishman said. 

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