Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Apr 10, 2015 in TellMeWhy |

Why Do You Shiver on a Cold Day?

Why Do You Shiver on a Cold Day?

Why Do You Shiver on a Cold Day? If the surface of your skin gets too chilly, skin receptors send signals to the brain, which sets into motion a series of warming tricks. Shivering is one such tactic, where your muscles contract and expand in speedy bursts. Shivering helps to make you feel warmer.

When you are cold, your brain sends messages to certain muscles to make you shiver. These muscles tighten and relax very quickly, over and over – without your thinking about them working. Your body shakes, and your teeth may chatter.

The working muscles burn up more fuel than usual, and produce extra heat to support body temperature. If you run or play a lot on a cold day, you won’t shiver. By exercising, you are already making your muscles work hard. The exercise warms you up.

At what temperature does your body start shivering? Shivering, or involuntary shaking, typically begins below a threshold of ~ 95.9˚F (35.5˚C). Shivering can substantially increase metabolic rate 5-6x higher than the resting rate, producing needed heat as the body begins to drop to dangerously cold temperatures.

What part of the brain causes shivering? The part of the brain that controls thermo-regulation is the hypothalamus, an almond-sized area just above the brain-stem. When you feel a chilly wind, your hypothalamus can react in several ways: Shivering: Your brain signals your muscles to being shaking rapidly.

Content for this question contributed by Karen Watkins, resident of Ben Lomond, Santa Cruz County, California, USA