You’ll Need A New Jacket Sooner Than You Think (Like, Now)

Does wearing a coat indoors make you colder once outside?

You’ll Need A New Jacket Sooner Than You Think (Like, Now)

It is common advice to only wear your jacket once you venture outside to ensure you ‘feel the benefit’, but the truth is not so simple.

When working in a draughty office, warehouse or classroom, it is tempting to keep your coat on while inside. But most of us have also heard the advice against it because you won’t “feel the benefit” when you do eventually go outside.

This might seem counter intuitive. If you’re cold already, surely you should do whatever you can to retain warmth? It turns out things aren’t that simple. To understand what’s really going on, we need to know a bit about why we feel cold in the first place.

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Your body is covered with tiny temperature sensors known as cold-sensitive receptors, located on specialised nerve fibres in the skin.

When the temperature drops, these receptors start to signal to the brain, in effect encoding the temperature into the nerve.

These cold receptors are sometimes called menthol receptors because they also respond to the chemical menthol, which gives a cool sensation when applied to the skin.

As these nerve fibres are distributed all around the body, they enter the central nervous system at different levels.

Receptors on the arms, torso, legs or shoulders connect to neurons in the spinal cord, while those on the face, head or mouth connect directly to the brain stem.

But because the nerves conduct their electrical signals so rapidly, the distance from the cold body part to the brain has little effect on how quickly we detect the cold.

Your skin is studded with cold receptors that send messages to your brain when exposed to cold air or objects (Credit: Getty Images)

The signals travel to a multi-sensory gate-keeper in the centre of the brain, called the thalamus.

From the thalamus, signals pass to the somatosensory cortex, which is what creates the sensation and awareness of feeling cold.

From this, the brain can work out both the location of the cold spot on the body surface, and to some extent how cold it actually is. At temperature extremes, hot or cold, you also feel pain due to skin damage.

When you go outside (or anywhere that is colder than where you’ve just been), your nervous system detects the temperature through your exposed skin, in particular the face. Wearing a coat indoors is ly to raise your average skin temperature, including the exposed parts.

And while your coat will insulate your body from this temperature drop when you go outside, the air will feel colder, particularly on the exposed skin, than it would have done otherwise. This feeling would be accentuated even further if wearing your coat indoors has made you sweat, which would cool your exposed skin more quickly.

Air conditioning in modern offices often leaves some people feeling so cold that they have to put on extra layers (Credit: Getty Images)

However, once you get over the initial sense of coldness, your coat will still do its job and you will feel its benefit.

Your body is very effective at maintaining its core temperature of 37°C, unless you are ill or experience extreme temperatures.

Even if you feel colder when you first go outside, your coat will help to reduce your body’s heat loss and make it easier to maintain your core temperature. It also keeps the cold air away from much of your skin.

Whether or not you’ve just put on your coat when you go outside, your body has an effective way of trying to warm itself up.

As they travel to the brain, the signals from your cold-sensitive receptors also pass to the hypothalamus, a complex collection of nerve cells at the base of the brain, the amygdala, and other centres beneath the hypothalamus, in the brain stem.

The hypothalamus controls our response to temperature (among other things), and the amygdala engages our emotions.

Wearing a coat indoors can raise your average skin temperature, meaning that the temperature drop can feel more extreme when you do venture outside (Credit: Getty Images)

When the signals activate these brain centres, your body will try to raise its temperature, particularly its core temperature, by a coordinated system of shivering, moving blood away from the skin surface, increasing your heart rate and intensifying your breathing to boost the circulation, along with the oxygen and nutrients it provides. Through this multi-organ response, the body prevents heat loss through the skin and generates heat through muscular activity and biochemical reactions.

This means that technically, you should be able to lose weight by being cold since the body is then forced to generate more heat, using up energy. But we wouldn’t advise going outside in winter without your coat as a weight-loss technique. It’s true that obesity can reduce life expectancy, but so can extreme cold, and much more effectively.

* Michael Evans is a senior lecturer in neuroscience at Keele University. The author would to thank Stanislaw Glazewski of Keele University for his contribution to this article.

This article originally appeared on The Conversation, and is republished under a Creative Commons licence.

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Sports Technology Coming Sooner Than You Think

You’ll Need A New Jacket Sooner Than You Think (Like, Now)

0 of 15

    We live in a technological age where everything we do seems to be dictated by some sort of gadget.

    Just look around you and you'll find people walking into oncoming traffic while on their iPhones or talking to their car to give them directions.

    In sports, the need for technology is no different.

    From sweat-wicking clothing that replaced polyester to faster, aluminum little league bats, we've seen a lot of advancements throughout the years.

    These are the next great ones to keep an eye out for.

3D Printing for Apparel Companies

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    This definitely doesn't apply to the regular Joe Schmo athlete on an everyday basis, but it will surely help the backyard athlete perform better in the long run.

    Major sporting brands Nike and Adidas are using 3D printing to help speed up the process of shoe-making, running (pun intended) through various prototypes quicker to determine which is best to release to athletes.

    we said, you won't care about this today, but when lighter, quicker, more comfortable shoes are out sooner, you might.

Columbia Sportswear's Ice Tee

2 of 15

    Kids these days have it made, don't they?

    We remember growing up and having to wear our old cotton or polyester jersey's, dripping sweat the minute we stepped on a humid field, then running around with that heat trapped in our shirt.

    Thanks to Columbia's new Ice Tee wicking shirt, though, it not only helps absorb sweat, but it actually lowers your body temperature so you don't use as much energy by overheating.

    As a runner, we want to know where the hell we can get one today?


3 of 15

    This one's for all the future coach Krzyzewski's out there who want to become legendary in a specific sport.

    With hundreds of millions of kids playing rec sports, CoachBase helps the coach actually know what they're doing, communicating plays and drills to their players easily.

    Recognized as a top innovator by Nike already, we may be hearing more coaches thank this device a lot more when accepting a championship trophy on the podium.

Aluminum Bats More Wooden Ones

4 of 15

    Over the years, we've seen plenty of nasty injuries from comebackers off a bat into a pitcher's head.

    Though it's almost unavoidable regardless of the material used on the bat, when a ball comes off an aluminum one, it gets to the mound quicker, causing less reaction time for the hurler.

    So bat manufacturers are starting to find an alternative, using composite bats to perform more wooden ones.

    A few adjustments have been made to keep bat speed high, while limiting the amount of “ping” we actually hear, which is a good thing for all Moms of little leaguers out there.

Nike Fuelband 2

5 of 15

    After receiving high praise for its release of the original Fuelband, which came out in 2012, Nike decided that it wanted to tweak some of the things the original did—and make some additional features to its follow-up.

    That's why the sports giant decided to release the Fuelband 2, which does everything the original did, but better.

    Now with bluetooth and synching app support, all casual athletes should be excited about this—though there's no release date yet announced.

Bane- Football Helmets

6 of 15

    If you're a breathing human being, we have a pretty damn good hunch that you saw the movie The Dark Knight Rises when it came out last year.

    In the flick, Batman's trying to overtake some dude named Bane from blowing up the world, basically.

    Since we know athletes love their superheroes, it was probably only a matter of time before we saw these Bane- facemasks make their way to the field.

    Though only Justin Tuck and Darnell Dockett have been seen sporting them so far—and they're actually used to help stop opponents from tugging on facemasks—there will surely be more to follow.

TaylorMade R1 Driver

7 of 15

    There's an old adage in golf that says, “Drive for show, but putt for dough.”

    But that doesn't stop people from dropping big-time bucks on trying to outblast their opponent off the tee box.

    That's why golf manufacturer TaylorMade released their new R1 driver, which adjusts to three different settings to help control the ball a hell of a lot better than you do now, while earning some money from your buddies in those long drive contests at the range.

94Fifty Basketball

8 of 15

    With all the studying and research that goes into the stats of a basketball player, there's never been a tool that can help track all the timing and rhythm for them to review.

    The 94Fifty basketball is helping to change that, though, putting sensors on a ball to help track in real-time just what the most effective way to shoot is for each player.

    It might not help you turn into Stephen Curry, but at least it's a good start. 

Robotic Baseball Pitcher

9 of 15

    There's been some argument over the years about trying to bring in an electronic strike zone to replace the natural human error that umpires have during each game.

    While it's true that they make mistakes, it probably won't happen anytime soon.

    But what if umpires remain, and robots make their way to the field?

    Pretty far-fetched we know, but that's what some scientists are asking after building a prototype for a robotic pitcher to take the mound every game.

    Let's just say this isn't your average pitch machine.


10 of 15

    We've seen varying camera angles that broadcasts give us to help put the action right in our living room.

    But there's never been anything that's been this.

    Basically putting a GoPro camera inside of a football, some serious smart dudes built an application that would slow down the rotational view, so not to make viewers dizzy.

    Will it ever catch on?

    Who knows?

    Is it pretty damn cool?

    Yeah, we're just worried about it's durability on some Rob Gronkowski touchdown spikes.

Under Armour's Sports Suit

11 of 15

    Trying to compete with Nike, Under Armour has helped snatch away a lot of the younger demographic over the past five years or so—just look around little league fields and see all the kids donning the UA logo.

    But the company is shooting for the big leagues with their sport suit invention that will combine a sweat-wicking outfit with the capabilities of the previously mentioned Nike Fuelband.

    It might look goofy now, but who knows how it will be received by athletes and consumers?

MLB “At the Ballpark” App

12 of 15

    This advancement might not help you rip a ball over center field or jump any higher, but it will definitely help stretch your gut out a little further—or just enhance your in-game experience.

    Heralded as the “Best Sports Technology” several weeks ago, this mobile app helps you skip the lines to order food, check on seat upgrades and, well, pretty much gives you the ability to have the entire ballpark at your fingertips.

    Talk about a five-tool player.

The Hover Golf Cart

13 of 15

    Bubba Watson may have captured sports fans with his play at last year's Masters tournament when he hit one of the most memorable shots to take home the green jacket, but he won them over even more with this video of a golf cart hover craft earlier this year.

    Golf carts are fun to ride around in and all, but being able to glide over almost anything you want? Now that'd be pretty damn dope.

NFL Helmet Camera

14 of 15

    Unfortunately we don't think we'll see this in any live games soon—unless someone wants to foot the bill for all those mini cameras?—but it's still something that should help players and coaches in the film room.

    We've already seen new Bears head coach Marc Trestman use it in minicamps this year, and since the NFL is a copycat league, chances are more teams will utilize this gadget in the not-too-distant future.

FIFA Goal-Line Technology

15 of 15

    This is one that we should all be rejoicing.

    After years of stubbornness that any tech advancements would slow the pace or interrupt the beautiful game—you know, more than just fan involvement—FIFA has finally enabled goal-line technology to help determine when a ball actually crosses the end line.

    Too many times we've seen questionable calls happen in major matches, so this is something that probably should have happened a long time ago.