Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How Adaptable the Human Body is ...

A couple of days ago I took a nude hike in the Cascade Mountains in what many would consider rather cold weather. The temperatures started out around 31F degrees and were dropping through 28F degrees by the time I returned to my car from my hike of several hours. During that whole time I wore nothing more than a knit cap, fleece gloves and hiking boots. The skies were clear with little to no breeze and although much of the hike was in shade away from the sunlight, I felt absolutely okay and not feeling the gross effects of the cold until some minor arm cramping near the end. A four and a half hour hike in below freezing weather and my nude body adapted perfectly to keep me comfortable. I could viscerally feel deeper body heat being produced and effused under the skin as needed . . . a direct stimulus response to the cold on bare skin.

Today I took my dog to the Magnusen Park off-leash area. Again, a clear sunny day with an air temperature of 32F degrees and a slight breeze . . . no shade. I was dressed in full insulating layers from head to toes yet as I walked my dog the cold bit into me bitterly, the exposed skin of my face stinging from the cold . . . fingers numbing through thick gloves . . . warmth seeping out of the very core through heavy clothing. What gives? I was absolutely freezing fully clothed at 32F degrees after less than fifteen minutes; yet, in appreciably colder weather and shade, my nude body withstood the cold very well and, in fact, I felt comfortable with no cold-numbed fingers or other parts.

There were other factors involved . . . such as the level of exertion, the higher humidity at Magnusen (which is on the shores of Lake Washington) and, of course, those layers of clothing giving a false assessment of the environmental conditions.

Still . . . it amazes me at the in-built adaptability of the human body to adjust in it's natural state to extremes of hot and cold. I understand many of the processes going on when I hike nude in cold weather yet to feel the rapid adaption taking place fills me with wonder. We have become too reliant on clothing for protection, a crutch . . . probably overdoing it most of the time.

Related Posts with Thumbnails