Health benefits linked to temperature variation
Exposure to environments outside a comfortable temperature could help prevent obesity, diabetes type 2 and other metabolic diseases. New research published in Building Research & Information outlines how living and working in modern buildings can be bad for our health.
The research reveals how exposure to mildly cold or warm environments outside of the standard "comfort" zone of 21-22 degrees found in buildings with central heating or air conditioning is better for our health. The research indicated that mild, cold, and warm temperatures were all important and that the crucial factor was that the temperature was variable, not consistent. The study showed those with type 2 diabetes exposed to mild coldness had a positive influence on their glucose metabolism. A recent study exposed diabetics to 10 days of intermittent cold and saw their insulin sensitivity increase by up to 40%.
Recent studies have also linked an increase in brown fat with both turning down the thermostat at home and spending time outdoors in variable temperatures. Brown fat, unlike white fat, which stores calories is metabolically active. Mitochondria packed brown fat cells burn energy and produce heat.
A reduction in the heating and cooling of buildings not only has a positive health benefit for people but will help to reduce CO2 emissions and greenhouse gas emissions also.