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ExpandMyMind

The shiver system: tapping the power of cold

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I'm in the foetal position at the bottom of a swimming pool. Water temperature: 15 degrees celsius. A 9kg weight is anchoring me in place. All I'm wearing is a pair of Speedos, a nose plug, goggles and a snorkel resembling an oversized asthma inhaler. The mouthpiece connects to two 1.2-metre hoses feeding into a PC-sized box next to a laptop. I'm shivering intensely and have an unbearable headache. My suffering is natural, I tell myself. It could even be good for me. After 20 minutes, my torturer, Ray Cronise, signals that my time is up. A former Nasa material scientist who spent 15 years overseeing experiments aboard shuttles at Marshall Space Flight Center, Cronise is testing me at his home in Huntsville, Alabama. That snorkel contraption -- a $30,000 (£19,000) piece of kit -- is analysing my breathing to chart how the cold water affects my metabolism. (It tracks inhaled and exhaled carbon dioxide and oxygen, a proxy for the amount of fuel I'm burning.) He believes exposing the body to cold can be an effective spur for losing weight and is undertaking this research in the hope of formulating a Weight Watchers-style algorithm, app or device that can help people harness what he's convinced is the transformative power of cold.

Cronise got the idea in 2008 while watching a TV programme about Michael Phelps. The coverage claimed that, while training, the US Olympic swimmer ate 12,000 calories a day. At the time, Cronise was on a diet of 12,000 calories per week. (He was carrying 95kg on his 1.75m frame and wanted to get back down to 82kg.) Something didn't add up. Even if Phelps had an exceptionally high metabolism and swam three hours a day, he still should have turned into a blob. Then it hit Cronise: Phelps was spending hours every day in water, which was sucking heat from his body. He was burning extra calories just to maintain his core temperature of 37 degrees celsius.

http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2013/04/features/the-shiver-system

Very cool. Insane that Phelps was eating 12,000 calories a day!

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That's just bizarre.

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He believes exposing the body to cold can be an effective spur for losing weight and is undertaking this research in the hope of formulating a Weight Watchers-style algorithm, app or device that can help people harness what he's convinced is the transformative power of cold

Would it not be easier to just cut out fatty foods?

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If i ate 12,000 calories a day i would be 500 pounds lol.but this is cool

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I've always thought that cold can help in losing weight, altought I didn't know how much.

It's intuitive: if you wear a pair of shorts and a t-shirt with 10° C, you have to burn more calories to compensate the difference in temperature and keep your body at 37° C, even if you're sitting at your desk and using your pc.

So it surely can't replace a regular diet and physical exercise, but can improve their results

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