c‘is an email that slipped into everyone’s inbox this fall: that of the condominium administrator.
Punctual in the list of measures taken to amortize this year’s expensive gas: delayed ignition, early shutdown of the heaters centralized, minimum and maximum levels of degrees based on external temperatures, various proposals and comparisons (and go with the clogging of tenants’ responses in copy).
The Big Chill
The great absentee of these missives, however, is him: the cold. A new roommate for many, the protagonist of the speeches since from global warming we have moved on to domestic cooling. Which shouldn’t worry too much, or at least not everyone, according to Carlo La Vecchia, professor of statistical medicine and epidemiology at the Milan state university.
«This year we went from 20 degrees to 19, compulsorily, in all public buildings, (excluding hospitals, nursing homes, kindergartens, nursery schools and swimming pools, ed) and also in private homes. One thing is certain: the impact of this lowering will only be felt on so-called “fragile”. That is: the elderly, children and those who are suffering. The disturbances that can be encountered are of the respiratory type since the cilia (cells that defend the respiratory tract by pushing the mucus that covers them, ed) work less in the cold. For the rest of the population, I don’t think much will changeconcludes La Vecchia.
The thrill you like
However, there are those who manage to get a little out of the energy winter anxiety because they are part – and have always been – of the tribe of lovers of the almost extinguished heater. Alice Cuteri, a forty-year-old architect based in Milan, is one of these. «As a girl I always went around dressed lighter than necessary, for reasons of style and practicality. I’ve probably developed over the years a resistance to cold that with the addition of a few extra pounds in maturity it transformed me into a champion of “18 degrees, it’s spring”. At home if temperatures are low I feel more active and awake. I’ve always liked opening the window a little in the middle of the night and letting the silence and frozen air in. Feeling the fresh skin out of the duvet is one of the most beautiful sensations» says Alice.
«Now that I have a little girl and I often sleep with her, the compromise is easy: the girl’s room 16 degrees, the husband’s room with the doors closed 19 degrees, after three hours of heating. The common spaces? One hour of warm-up per day, just so as not to argue. We are lucky though: we live in a house with new high-performance fixtures. Are we a bit “parasites” towards the chilly neighbors? Maybe yes. In short, we can afford to hardly ever turn on the heating because it doesn’t go below 15 degrees. There little girl follow my “siberian education” rules so he also moves barefoot if he wants. The teachers reproach me for not putting her undershirt on. But they won’t have us » concludes Alice who has a precise idea of her “tribe”: « We feel more connected to nature by experiencing the cold season as it comes, welcoming it benevolently, full of rain and wind ».
The cold that makes you lose weight
The Germans will be part of this tribe who practically always leave the windows of their houses ajar, hindering the achievement of the national targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions? In Germany, the habit of keeping the windows of houses open to air them out (even if it’s freezing outside) has become a serious matter. Definitely a healthy habit (the air breathed indoors is much more polluted than outdoors), but detrimental to the energy efficiency of buildings.
There would then be another reason behind the choice, more linked to design: having large windowsills, often overflowing with objects and plants, in fact means never opening the windows inwards, at most bottom-hung windows, and therefore forgetting them open. In recent times, however, there is a growing array of voices reevaluating the cold. Researchers from the universities of Maastricht and Tilburg, for example, have published a study in Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism which would demonstrate the effectiveness of staying in cold temperatures as a method for losing weight.
Cold trains the metabolism
Those who took part in the research were kept at a temperature of 15 degrees for six hours a day, obtaining a double result: not only did the subjects lose weight, but by adapting to the cold they proved to be more resistant to winter ailments. What comes into play is the metabolism: to keep the body temperature constant, the body must burn a certain amount of calories or, according to the Dutch study, more than 30 percent of the daily balance. Cold is therefore useful.
There confirmation also comes from “cryotherapy”, a trend in vogue not only among sportsmen that has to do with ice-based treatments to reduce pain and inflammation. The principle would be the known one – after an impact, ice is used to cushion the pain or to prevent the formation of hematomas – but taken further: 2-3 minute cryosauna sessions are offered to combat skin blemishes and to eliminate liquids and toxins, exploiting the vaporization of liquid nitrogen inside the cryochamber where you are immersed, keeping your head and hands out.
Cold – a resource for health
Nothing extreme, mind you. Even if the story of Wim Hof might seem like this: also known as The Iceman, Wim is a Dutch sportsman who became legendary for the incredible results obtained in physical resistance to the cold. The Iceman has invested decades of study, travel and extreme trials, to fine-tune his “ice method” according to which everyone (young or old, sick or healthy) can exploit the physical and mental potential stimulated by the cold. And feel more vital, happier. The key points of his method have also been condensed in the book The ice method(Mondadori), which has attracted many followers.
Leonardo Pelagotti, 33, based between France and Italy, energy engineer, is one of these. «I am passionate about his records on the cold above all because they show a secret potential of the human body and a stress management ability which I was looking for for a long time. In my past as a national gymnast and black belt in Kung-Fu Shaolin I had in fact had the opportunity to experience the difficulty in managing stress during competitions, I psycho-somatized performance anxiety until I was at the mercy of these emotionsi, getting sick in conjunction with each race or exam» says Pelagotti, founder of Inspire Potentialwhich organizes lessons, retreats, seminars and private or corporate courses on the method.
The instructors of the cold
«When I did the first ten weeks of the course with Wim I felt reborn. I decided to continue training, I have become the first certified instructor in Italy on the method and then also Wim’s right-hand man for Italy. Since then I have taught this method founded on three pillars – cold, breathing and strength of mind – to more than seven thousand people in Europe» he continues.
Starting from the first empirical and scientific evidence, it is hypothesized that the Wim Hof method, cold, breathing and mental and emotional attitude, can be a supporting factor for the treatment of some diseases. «In any case, the cold has effects on the immune system and on the ability to resist stress but also on the cardiovascular system» adds Pelagotti, author of Breathing for self-mastery (Age of Aquarius) and a videos on how save on your bill this winter by practicing the Wim Hof method. Research links living at 15°C with weight loss and improved resistance to disease
Unleash your inner potential
“I had ai my sports courses, business executives and ordinary people. Most seek greater serenity, more daily energy and better physical and mental performance. Many have also come to overcome their fear of the cold, people who couldn’t swim in the Mediterranean Sea in the summer, so to speak. I had a girl who was a victim of panic attacks and she learned to manage performance anxiety because the cold does this too: it helps you feel at ease, even when there seems to be very little comfort around you » she concludes .
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