When it comes to weather in the UK, we really do have the best of both worlds. With four distinct seasons, we Brits get to experience both warm and cold weather and of course the milder transition seasons of Spring and Autumn in between.
Humans inhabit most of the world and have adapted to weather extremes, but is hot or cold weather better for health? Are there actually any pros with winter?! Let’s find out.
Everyone is Different
It’s important to remember that tolerance to different temperatures varies from person to person. Age, weight, genetics and other factors all play a role in how well we tolerate temperature extremes. The older you are, the more likely you will be to feel the cold. If you have a higher percentage of body fat, you will likely struggle more in hot climates.
There are lots of benefits to living in a warm climate and there are also some downsides.
- Vitamin D – Sun exposure causes the production of Vitamin D which has many benefits to your overall health and wellbeing. You only need to spend 15 minutes in the sun for your body to begin to synthesise Vitamin D.
- Time Outdoors – Warmer weather makes spending time outdoors far more appealing which does increase the variety of activities you can enjoy. Spending time in nature and being able to engage in outdoor pursuits can do wonders for our mind and body.
- Happy Chemicals – Spending time in the sun has a positive effect on our brain chemistry. More Serotonin is produced, and stress hormones and melatonin decrease which positively impact our mood.
- Packing Light – As a warmer climate generally requires less clothing to be warm, you can pack lighter and potentially save on your international removal costs!
- Insects – Bugs and insects also love a warm climate, so they come with the package. If you’re not a fan of buzzing, stinging and biting then this will likely be a major factor to consider. And let’s not forget that certain little critters are responsible for transferring diseases.
- Skin Damage – For the fair skinned among us, the sunshine can seem less appealing. Without appropriate protection, skin can become damaged and skin cancer risk goes up significantly.
- Staying Cool – Intense heat can be unbearable. It is much easier to warm your body up than to cool it down, so aircon and a pool is a must!
- Allergies – If you suffer from outdoor allergies like hay fever, you are more likely to experience these in warmer environments. If you suffer when the pollen count is high, you will suffer ten-fold in hotter conditions.
Whilst not as well considered as warmer climates, cold climates do also offer benefits and more predictably, there are of course downsides.
- Increased Metabolism – When our body is cooler it has to work harder to maintain our core body temperature. As a result, our resting metabolic rate increases as we burn more calories at rest.
- Healthier Fat Composition – Studies have shown a direct correlation between increased brown (good) fat in individuals exposed to cooler temperatures.
- Community and Connection – In colder climates, community and relationships tend to be closer and more supportive which explains why so many Nordic countries make up some of the world’s ‘happiest’ places to live.
- Improved Skin – Without the harsh sun rays, our skin tends to be much healthier. Cooler temperatures constrain blood vessels in the skin which makes them less prone to redness and swelling.
- Injury Risk – There are of course cold weather risks which we tend to overlook. Accidents are commonplace in icy conditions, so risk naturally increases in colder climes with extreme weather.
- Decreased Activity – Colder countries have shorter days which means less daylight. Unfavourable weather conditions also reduce the variety of potential outdoor pursuits so you may spend more time indoors.
- Higher Energy Costs – Utility bills are increased as you will naturally need more heating and lighting to compensate for the colder conditions.
- Food Options – Fruits and veggies are fewer in choice and higher in cost. Local produce is much more limited in colder countries.
Thankfully, it is possible for people to adapt o a new climate – hot or cold. However, the time frame for this varies.
Acclimatisation is a natural process as your body adjusts to a sudden change in temperature. During this period, you may experience some unwanted symptoms such as headaches, but these will pass once you have acclimatised.
In warmer weather, to help the process along, be sure to increase your fluid intake as your body will naturally sweat more. In colder conditions, you will want to store heat and as heat is easily lost through our heads and felt most in our extremities, wearing a thermal hat, gloves and socks will do wonders.
If you have decided on the perfect climate for you, you may like to explore our expert country guides for inspiration and advice on moving to a range of countries across the world.