MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Twin Cities only made it to a chilly 53 degrees on Tuesday, Sept. 25. That same temperature would feel warm if it was early spring.
Why does it feel so cold in the fall? Good Question.
“In the springtime, we see summer ahead and it feels warm,” said one Minnesota dad visiting downtown Minneapolis. “Now, we see snow and ice ahead and it feels colder.”
To some, it’s psychological. But, there’s also something physiologically happening in the body.
“If you really want to get used to the cold, go out without your jacket for a few days and get crazy,” says Mark Blegen, professor of physiology at St. Catherine University.
Blegen says the receptors in the skin and blood vessels check the skin, air and blood temperatures in the body. Those receptors then send that data back to the hypothalamus in the brain. The hypothalamus acts as thermostat, integrating all of the information to figure out how the body should respond.
That thermostat has a set point and when it’s blasted with cold air, it has to adjust to a new set point.
On a cold day, it causes the blood vessels to constrict, which takes away heat from the skin and moves it to the core. The body then reacts by feeling cold and trying to heat up.
“We have to shiver, the hair stands up on our air to keep warm, we get a little tense,” says Blegen. “All of those things generate heat.”
Depending on the temperature change, it can take anywhere between a few days and a few weeks for the body to adjust.