Monday, January 27, 2014

This Weather is Killing Us

I'd sure like to know where the folks who complain about how it's "too hot" during the summer go during times like these.  I'm not seeing a lot of people walking around with just a light jacket and no gloves with big smiles on their faces.  Recent trips to the grocery store found more looks of pain and general misery--with expressed desires that the cold end as soon as possible.  Some even joke about "never complaining about how hot it is in July ever again."

There is good reason to hate weather like this--it is literally killing us.  With the return of "real winters" in North America, a lot of attention has been paid to a 2007 study that finds living in colder climes shortens your life span.  The researchers found people who spend their entire lives in parts with cold winters tend to live ten percent shorter lives than those who live down south.  They add, that the growing trend of "snowbirds" spending their winters in Florida and Arizona have contributed to the 3% increase in the American life expectancy over the past couple of decades.

What's more, the study finds that the effects are almost immediate for the elderly and the ill.  Both cold and heat waves cause increased death rates.  But after a heat spell ends, those rates return to normal.  But cold snaps see those higher death rates continue for weeks afterward.  Showing that the cold takes much more out of you than the heat.  The cold also tends to be harder on the poor--who cannot afford the energy expenses to keep their homes warm enough to ward off the effects of the temperatures.

I've felt that draining of energy the prolonged cold has on us.  It's tougher to get out of bed.  A few minutes out shoveling or just running from store to store feels like a full workout at the gym.  And no amount of sleep seems to replace that energy.  Conversely, the warmth and the sun of the summer seems to provide me with an endless supply of energy--not to mention a much better attitude.

So those of you who hate the summer--and celebrate that first frost or snowfall or formation of ice on the lake--go ahead and enjoy the weather you love so much.  Just keep in mind, it's killing you--literally.

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