Varying Our Indoor Temps May Boost Insulin Sensitivity

New research suggests that changing-up the temperature of our indoor environment might help us address the issues of obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

Published in Building Research & Information the study reveals how metabolic related health conditions, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes are influenced by exposure to varying indoor temps.

Investigators found that those prone to obesity can boost their metabolism and energy output by living and working in mildly warm or cold indoor environments. Varying temps may help people burn unwanted fat or maintain a healthy weight, complementing other lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise.

For individuals with type 2 diabetes, exposure to mild cold showed benefits for glucose metabolism. After ten days of experiencing intermittent chilly temperatures, study subjects enjoyed a more than 40 percent increase in insulin sensitivity - an improvement comparable to pharmaceutical therapies.

Because of the positive health advantages of variable temps, the researchers recommend that modern homes and offices incorporate dynamic, or drifting temperatures to better support human health.

“It has previously been assumed that stable fixed indoor temperatures would satisfy comfort and health in most people,” said lead investigator Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt. “However, this research indicates that mild cold and variable temperatures may have a positive effect on our health and at the same time are acceptable or even may create pleasure.”

The health benefits from short exposure to variable temperatures could create a new approach to the way we heat and cool our buildings, though how people living and working in drifting temps will appreciate them was not addressed in the study.

This research was part of an examination of thermal comfort practices by Building Research & Information, to generate healthy, comfortable, low-energy solutions for indoor environments.

Source: Science Daily, Healthy excursions outside the thermal comfort zone, Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt, Mark Hanssen, Hannah Pallubinsky, Boris Kingma, and Lisje Schellen, Building Research & Information Vol. 0 , Iss. 0,0
Photo credit: CORGI HomePlan

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