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If you had to wait outside for 15 minutes in winter weather for the bus today, I have good news. According to a study in the journal Cell Metabolism, those 15 minutes of shivering in the cold have a similar effect on the body as an HOUR of moderate exercise. In the study, researchers put subjects under cooling blankets – and saw that they had a rise in the hormone irisin. That hormone turns our main type of body fat – white fat, which is bad – into BROWN fat, which actually burns calories to warm us up. Cold weather – and the study’s cooling blankets – work, because when we’re cold, our muscles contract in a way that’s similar to what happens when we exercise. So the next time you’re literally cooling your heels outside this winter, just think, “My brown fat is switching on, and burning calories like crazy!”

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