For our vital organs to function properly, they must remain at approximately 37 degrees Celsius.
Our bodies have several built-in sequences that help us maintain our temperatures, so we can always function at our best.
These include sweating when it’s hot, allowing heat to evaporate from the body, and shivering when it’s cold.
Cold weather can also leave us feeling numb, particularly in our fingers and toes.
According to the experts at House Call Doctor, shivering is a contraction or twitching of the muscles that occurs when the body is losing more heat than it can produce.
When the body moves, it generates heat. This is why we feel warm when we exercise.
In fact, visible shivering can boost your body’s surface heat production by up to 500 per cent.
The body also prioritises which organs should be kept warm, reducing blood flow to your extremities and increasing blood flow to your brain and heart.
If blood flow is reduced for too long, we start to feel numb.
The body can only shiver for so long. After a few hours, your muscles will run out of energy and will stop contracting and relaxing.
In extreme cold, numb extremities that are left untreated may suffer from frostbite.
It is therefore important to add layers of dry clothing, or go to a warmer location, when you start to feel cold.
If your fingers are getting numb, try holding a warm cup of tea, putting your hands under your armpits, or running your hands under warm water until they feel better.
You should consult with your GP if you are feeling numb when you are not exposed to cold temperatures.
How does your body react to the cold?