cold weather tolerance

I hate cold weather. I don’t know if this is because I’m thin,or not. I love it when it’s 84 out. I know Eskimos are shorter and squatter to deal with cold better(evolution!) but is this a fact? That tall thin folks are better suited to warm weather? I think so. Theres a guy here who is about 500 lbs. and in the winter all he wears are shorts and a top!

I think a lot of it has to do with personal preferance. I’m a tall, thin(?) guy of English/German descent, and I love wintertime. When the weather gets fallish, with the wind and rain whipping wet leaves around and the temperature hovering in the low 40’s, I find that kind of weather invigorating, while everybody else is saying, “Yuck. Go 'way 'n lemme sleep.”

On the other hand, I absolutely despise hot weather. If it never got above 75, I’d be happy. Last July was The Month From Hell; temperatures in the high 90’s and wilting humidity, and all I did was sit in front of a fan and gasp for air like a beached goldfish. The only redeeming factor was that we did have a moderate (albeit scorching) breeze those same days; good thing or we’d all have died.

Nope. If you like summertime, that’s swell, but give me cold weather every time. The way I look at it, if you’re too cold, you can always put on more clothes, but if you’re too hot, there’s only so many you can take off----and then you’re stuck.

orangecakes, this is definitely a topic for a Canadian to answer. Some of the trivia I know about this subject:
(1) Evolution is a factor. People from cold climates tend to pack more fat around their internal organs and have much thicker waists than tropical people. Tropical people starve to death very quickly compared to nordic/arctic people who can go for weeks without food.
(2) I had heard that fat people are supposed to feel the cold more acutely because there is less blood flow in fat than in muscle. Maybe the insulation helps them initially but once the cold sets in, it would really set in, and it would take them longer to warm up.

I worked in the northern bush and Canadian arctic a lot when I was younger and we used to say that winter outdoor work was vastly superior to summer. You can dress for the cold but heat oppresses. Mental attitude helps. When it’s -30 and you are properly dressed thump your chest and say “I like it like this!” It really can be invigorating and refreshing. Conditioning to the cold helps. I lived in a tent one winter up north on an exploration job and it never got above -30 for 6 weeks. I took a dump outside once at -50. I can remember shaving in the tent and then going outside in a T-shirt and rubbing snow on my face as an aftershave at -30.
Your metabolism is a big factor. Get it up! Get moving. If you exercise regularly it’ll raise your metabolism and you will generally feel warmer. Cross-country skiers climbing up hill can strip down to a T-shirt in -10 temperatures. I remember cross-country skiing once when it was quite cold and experimenting with how close I could get the palm of my hand to my friends before I could feel the aura of heat coming off them.
I like it hot but cold weather is a fact of life and it’s best to embrace it or you’ll spend half the year moping. In the end it’s only the weather.

Being squat does have advantages when it comes to cold weather, but that’s only one factor among many. This is a geometry problem: for a given volume a rounder shape has less surface area. Hence, less surface throuch which it loses heat.

You can do the math. Take a cube and a sphere of same volume and calculate the surface area of each. The sphere wins, it has less. In fact, the sphere is the optimal shape to reduce surface area; no other shape has less surface area per volume.

However I’m skinny and love cold Canadian weather. Even other Canadians think I’m nuts. I have a great immune system to boot; I barely catch any colds. I guess I just make people around me more miserable during winter. :slight_smile:

Only humans commit inhuman acts.

I like temps in the low 60’s, just seems to feel right to me. I think you do somewhat condition yourself to colder weather. Doesn’t matter what the temp. is out at 3 am I’ve got to go to the barn. Then chances are I’m going to spend several hours out in it every day of the winter. It has been my experience that at the beginning of the cold months (there were flurries in the air here this morn. BTW) you feel the cold more. Then when Dec. rolls around you feel pretty used to it and can handle cold weather with less clothing. The only problem I consistently have with cold weather is my hands and fingers drying up and cracking. I can load them up with lotion a couple times a day but they’ll usually be bleeding by the end of the day.

I am not overweight and I really enjoy cold weather. I rarely even break out a jacket until it is near freezing. I have always agreed with the sentiment that you can always do something about feeling cold, but past a certain point, you can’t do anything about feeling hot.

That having been said, I think it has much more to do with metabolism than it does with fat content. And there has to be some kind of gender-related factor, because, on average, the women I know always feel colder than the men, despite the fact that women have a larger layer of subdermal body fat than men.


I’m with you, Orange. Anything below 85 is chilly to me, and I was the only New Yorker happy with our 100+ heat wave this summer.

If the temp falls below 65, I have to bundle up in a coat, wrap a muffler around my head and bring out the warm winter gloves–maybe I have no blood? Goodness knows, my metabolism has skidded to a halt in the past ten years, but my intolerance for cold hasn’t changed a bit.

I dislike the heat. (I live near Cleveland and at the place I worked for the last 12 winters, there were a number of co-workers and users who had never seen me wear a coat–even though there were two buildings on the campus and we often had meetings in the “other” building.) While I can be easily described as heavyset, now, the preference for cold weather goes back to my skinny childhood. (My worst job experience was the summer between sophomore and junior years of college when I worked in a foundry–sometimes doing mold burnout and sometimes holding the opposite handle for the founder.)

While body weight may play a part, I think temperament and metabolism are the bigger factors.


I grew up in Arizona and never got to like the heat. In light clothing, I prefer temperatures in the mid 60’s. I am also perfectly happy to be warmly dressed, hanging out in 40° weather. I am so glad to be away from Arizona.

If anyone is actually trying to get a feel for the gene factor, I’m half Anglo/Celtic with Dutch and Cherokee on the side.

I cannot believe that there is a genetic predisposition here. I am not talking about external adjustments ( both of my kids are Korean born, they sport that adorable Mongolian Steppe face- flat, smooth nose, etc). I am German/Polish/Russian. Tall ( 6’ 2" ) and …pudgy. I LOATHE the cold, I literally shut down when exposed to too much of it. My career forces me to work out in it, with no breaks,for hours sometimes. It is merciless. Bring on the extreme heat. I love it, gimme some water, and I can rock all day.
Anyone finds some really good solid evidence that a predisposition to one or the other extreme exists? Post it here, I wanna see it !!

" If you want to kiss the sky, you’d better learn how to kneel "

Cecil on why Eskimos stay there:

I think getting acclimated has a lot to do with it. I was stationed in Anchorage from February of 69 to February of 71. First winter it was full arctic kit and long woolies and huddling by the radiators. Second winter it was parka and fur lined gloves and sleeping out in tents at -40. Third winter it was field jackets and sweaters and driving around Anchorage with the top down throwing snowballs at the tourists.

By the third year, when we went hunting in the winter (30 or 40 below) we’d be down to shirt sleeves after the first hour of trudging through the snow. Never got a touch of frostbite either. Only injury I suffered was a can of orange juice in my parka pocket that froze and exploded. Damn sharp metal cut my finger when I pulled it out.

So, after two years, they asked me where I wanted to go and I said anyplace warm…so they sent me to North Dakota. Froze my ass off there. :slight_smile:

Lex Non Favet Delictorum Votis

I find a house kept in the low 60’s to be comfortable. I only were shorts around the house too. I don’t like the below freezing weather though.

Acclimation and size has nothing to do with my preference. Getting older maybe. Grew up in this area (D.C.) with hot & cold weather. I’m small (5’3") Actually, don’t think I had a preference in my younger years, and tolerated heat well - I didn’t even have air conditioning til mid-1980’s. I loved hot weather cause I loved the beach and swimming; loved cold, snowy weather too - seems to energize me and bring out the kid in me. However, as I’ve gotten older, I don’t tolerate the heat very well. I still love hot weather leisure activities, but otherwise, prefer cold weather. I keep my apartment cool and sleep best that way.

Like Al Zheimer said, metabolism has a lot to do with it. The more food you burn the more heat you produce. I have a very low metabolism and I hate the cold.

On the other hand when there’s a heat wave I’m comfortable. Of course I live in Canada so a heat wave is considered anything over 30 degrees (celcius).

I think that the environment one grows up in may figure into one’s preferences, too. I grew up a stone’s throw from Chicago (first ten years of my life). Then my parents moved us all to Eastern Kentucky (where they grew up, natch). To this day, I prefer cold weather. (Cold for here anyway.)

I will say this though, the foliage color in the fall is much nicer here.

“It is impossible to experience one’s own death objectively and still carry a tune.” – Woody Allen from Getting Even

I have a slow metabolism, I’m not overweight (ok, ok, not very, see my pic on the homepage), and I love the cold. Anything above 68 sucks. I walk to and from work, and I won’t put a jacket on until it’s in the 30s or lower. People think I’m nuts when I walk in the winter time, but I walk quickly and that warms me up so I don’t really feel the cold.
And I don’t wear hats, either. Not even when we had that bad winter a couple of years ago and it hit 60 below wind chill. It makes me sweat and I hate that feeling. So to protect my ears I wear a hood.
And if this helps, I’m Portuguese.

Sometimes life is so great you just gotta muss up your hair and quack like a duck!

I love cold weather. Especially the winters here in Monterey (We dont get sub zero temps but nights frequently fall at least to freezing or a few degrees shy of it). I love when it’s cold, damp and rainy and everyone else is moaning and bitching about it, because it ruins their day :D. Those of you who hate hot weather might like it in Monterey. The average highest temperatures usually range in the 60 - 75 degree F range. A low of 55 is not uncommon. Also, the average highest temperature reading was 97 degrees F. Basically we have fall weather most of the year here (We warn our visiting relatives to dress like they do in fall when they visit.

Although, one has to get used to the almost constant fog and wind in summer (we had one year where July had NO sunny days at all!). While I do like a few days out of the year with hot weather, I really wouldn’t want to suffer through that all summer like they do in the Central Valley (Fresno, Stockton, Sacramento, etc. areas), where it can get up to 110 degrees many times.

‘The beginning calls for courage; the end demands care’

When I was in Quebec a year or two ago, I got to chatting with a shopgirl there. “I hate the winters here,” she told me. “I’m saving up so I can move down south where it’s warmer.” I asked her where she was planning on going, and she said, “Minnesota.”

Thanks for your support Flora,lets move to New Mexico! I’ve heard I should take iron pills to help warm me up.