Hot Topics     Home and Family     Healthy Kids    

Baby It's Cold Outside! Let's visit grandma anyway.



Enjoy Professor Popsicle's crazy views on having fun in the cold

Professor Popsicle explains mindset is critical to enduring cold

Seeing grandparents during the recent December holidays was difficult. Many seniors, like 72-year old Marian Koch of Pennsylvania, had to make tough decisions about seeing family and friends. Koch ultimately chose to host her kids and grandkids on her front porch. It was great, except it was cold.

Enter Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht a.k.a. Professor Popsicle. Giesbrecht, the environmental physiologist and director of the University of Manitoba's Laboratory for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, is a self-proclaimedcold-hater. Strong words, but the professor has made it his life's work to understand "cold". 

As Outside Magazine notes, "Giesbrecht didn't become the world's leading authority on hypothermia by sitting around the campfire. He got there by leaping into frozen lakes, injecting ice water into his veins, and taking lots of very, very cold baths."

He has conducted hundreds of cold water immersion studies and has even lowered his body temperature below 95 degrees, the threshold for hypothermia. All of this has provided valuable information about cold stress physiology and pre-hospital care for human hypothermia.


He claims there is a psychology of cold. Think about how cold you feel on the first chilly day after summer. Now think about the same temp in the beginning of spring. Even though the temperatures are similar, Giesbrecht opines that we feel it differently. 

"We acclimatize not only throughout the season, like weeks and months, but also hours and days", says Giesbrecht. He also talks about our attitude towards cold. If you are sure you will be cold, you probably will be. A great way to combat that is to think of the positive aspects of what you are doing out in the cold. And, of course, wearing warm clothing is critical.

Giesbrecht claims that it is actually pretty hard to induce hypothermia. First, watch out for shivering. Shivering for a minute or two will warm you up. If you continue to shiver for 15 minutes or more, it is most likely a sign you need to get indoors and take time to warm up.

Frostbite is another thing to be aware of. Knowing when it is setting in can be tricky. "Never accept numbness," Giesbrecht advises. If anything feels numb you need to get warmed now.

Grandma Koch and her family kept a positive attitude, served hot drinks and food while they were outside, and dressed warmly. All in all she says her family had a wonderful time despite the cold.



Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • Calling all birdwatchers

    Check out Birdability which promotes birding for everyone

    Through education, outreach and advocacy, Birdability works to ensure the birding community and the outdoors are welcoming, inclusive, safe and accessible for everybody. We focus on people with mobility challenges, blindness or low vision, chronic illness, intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental illness, and those who are neurodivergent, deaf or hard of hearing or who have other health concerns. In addition to current birders, we strive to introduce birding to people with disabilities and other health concerns who are not yet birders so they too can experience the joys of birding. read more »
  • 9/11 Remembrance Ceremonies

    Come and remember the people who were lost, first responders & survivors

    Events to honor the victims, first responders, and survivors of the 9/11 attacks. read more »
  • Mother Shares Her Journey with Heroin-Addicted Daughter

    Read the gripping new book about this family

    September is National Recovery Month and one mom has shared her journey with her daughter struggling with addiction. read more »
  • Learn How to Help Your Struggling Adolescents Navigate Change and Overcome Anxiety

    Parenting expert Erica Komisar has a new book that can assist you

    Adolescence is a notoriously complicated time for kids as well as their parents. Plus, the epidemic of mental health disorders in young people has made parenting today even more challenging. But it’s not too late. Parents of adolescents can still have a profound impact on the health and well-being of their children. read more »
  • 5 of the best movies your teen can watch at home

    Entertain your kids with these flicks from Netfilx

    Writing for Popsugar, Sabienna Bowman shares her top movie picks for teens read more »
  • Master P On Rap Feuds, Conscious Parenting, Black Superheroes

    Allison Kugel interviews this rap icon

    Interview with rap icon Master P by Allison Kugel. Here he talks about family and more. read more »
  • Cool new food savers from Lasting Freshness

    Vacuum seal your food to keep it fresh longer

    Using this patented handheld Vacuum System your food is preserved up to 5 times longer than food stored using conventional grocery storage methods. read more »
  • The Mama Bear Effect Launches New Resource to Combat Child Sexual Abuse

    Parents of young children and those with special education needs now have a free tool to educate children about their bodies and boundaries

    Parents, caregivers, teachers, and therapists now have a new tool to educate the most vulnerable population of children, those who need specialized assistance with learning and communication. read more »
  • Dirty, sweaty laundry making your house stinky?

    Here is a great solution from STNKY

    STNKY Bags are the best way to sort, store, carry, wash and dry everything from sweaty gym clothes, laundry when you travel, scrubs, and just about anything else that gets dirty or sweaty. read more »
  • Get Green this September

    Be a Friend of the Environment

    NYS Department of Environmental Conservation offers tips on cleaning out your closet and recycling your discarded clothing. read more »