Re: What makes us shiver?
Area: General Biology
Posted By: Jose Gomez, Graduate Program in Neuroscience
Date: Sat Dec 21 11:37:54 1996
People shiver when they get cold, but you knew that I'm sure. The reason they do
that is that the muscles are really pretty bad at using their energy (from food) into what
they are good for (movement). A lot of that energy isn't used for moving your body,
instead it is let go as heat. That is why you get really hot when you go running. You are
moving around a lot, your muscles let off a lot of heat, and you get hot.
When you are cold however, you body is very smart and uses this mistake to its
advantage. So here is what happens:
- A part of your brain, called the hypothalamus, gets cold. It doesn't have to get
very cold, just a little bit will be enough.
- This part of your brain then makes your muscles shake. This way your muscles
are moving, but you aren't running around. It works well.
- This muscle shaking (shivering) makes a LOT of heat, can be as much as 3x as
without shivering. If it is really cold, you won't be able to stop the shivering until you get
inside and warm.
- This warms you up, and your hypothalamus. After a while you stop shivering.
- Of course if you stay in the cold, shivering may not give enough heat. In this
case, your body temperature continues to drop which is very very dangerous. This is
called hypothermia as is very bad and people have died of it.
Well Michael, I hope this helped; write me if you have any questions,
Gradurate Program in Neuroscience
University of Minnesota
Current Queue |
Current Queue for General Biology |
General Biology archives
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on General Biology.
MadSci Home | Information |
Random Knowledge Generator |
MadSci Archives |
Mad Library | MAD Labs |
MAD FAQs |
Ask a ? |
Join Us! |
Help Support MadSci