Cold Feet

Cold Feet by "ktshy"

If you’ve ever woken up in the morning with icy toes that just won’t thaw even during the day, you’re not alone! Cold feet are a common phenomenon, especially among women, and while it’s one that can be linked to serious medical issues, more often than not, the reasoning behind it is pretty simple.

Behind the scenes, blood vessels carrying oxygen-rich blood throughout your body help to regulate your temperature by either relaxing or contracting to adjust to external temperatures. When your environment gets cold, sensory receptors in your skin send a message to the brain, which in turn, constricts blood vessels to conserve warmth in higher priority areas of your body that house essential organs. This process is called vasoconstriction and is a normal bodily function that generally isn’t a cause for concern. Just keep in mind that if your cold feet (or hands) are usually accompanied by color changes in your skin (common colors are blue, white, purple, and red), the underlying cause could be a bit more severe, and you may want to consider consulting a doctor.

However, besides the basic science, there are definitely a few other factors that may be contributing to those cold feet, and one of those is just being female. Vasoconstriction can often be related to fluctuations in levels of estrogen, a hormone found in women that helps to regulate temperature. In addition, during perimenopause (the transitional stage that occurs before menopause), estrogen levels begin to drastically fluctuate and decline at an irregular rate. This leaves many women even more vulnerable to vasoconstriction, resulting in that constant feeling of not being able to get warm.

Scientific data also shows that due to differences in metabolism, women tend to prefer room temperatures at around 77 degrees – a full 5 degrees higher than men’s ideal temperatures! This has big implications at home and especially in the office, where temperatures are usually set between 68 and 73 degrees as a result of studies done in 1966 that were based on the metabolism and comfort level of a 40-year old, 154 lb man. Is it any wonder that the office is more like an icebox?

With all of these different factors working against us, it’s not surprising how difficult it can be to stay warm on a regular basis, and we’d love to hear your thoughts and solutions on how you keep the cold away!

For more information on temperatures in the workplace and how it can affect your business, check out these links:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/04/science/chilly-at-work-a-decades-old-formula-may-be-to-blame.html?_r=0

http://www.fastcompany.com/3001316/want-more-productive-workers-adjust-your-thermostat

 

FEATURED IMAGE: Cold Feet (Artist: kitschy)