Hot and Cold - The Battle of the Sexes
I cant tell you how many times Ive been walking down the street in winter, shivering, with my collar turned up, while my husband, with his coat open and flapping in the wind, is toasty as can be. Well, as it turns out, Im not alone. Most women experience the cold more than men do, especially on their hands and feet. The male body simply copes with extremes of temperature both cold and heat better than the female body.
Theres scientific evidence to explain our differences. The Altitude Research Division of the U.S. Army Institute of Environmental Medicine reports that because of differences in physiological factors such as body mass, body fat, and body surface, women have less tolerance for both severe cold and heat.
Physiologically speaking, the bigger the body mass, the more heat the body produces. On the average, a womans body mass is about 20 percent less than a mans. But her body surface is not reduced proportionately, and this gives her a larger face-area-to-mass ratio than a man has. What this amounts to is this: women will begin feeling the cold before men.
Its true that women generally do have more body fat than men, but the layer of fat that provides extra insulation is not what is present on either hands or feet prime risk areas for frostbite. Because of their physical makeup, women also do not generate as much heat from exercise or shivering as men do.