How to Raise Your Core Body Temperature for Weight Loss

Craig Primack, MD, FACP, FAAP, FOMA

Reviewed by Craig Primack, MD, FACP, FAAP, FOMA

Written by Hadley Mendelsohn

Published 05/09/2024

Updated 05/08/2024

There are many ways to elevate your core body temperature when trying to reach your fitness goals. Physical activity is the most obvious, but there are other little things you can do too. We have lots of pointers on how to raise your core body temperature for weight loss.

But before we dive into all those hot tips on how to raise internal body temperature, let’s unpack the connection between internal body temperature and weight loss, why you may want to raise your core body temperature, and when.

First off, one underlying factor of weight is metabolism, which has something to do with what’s called thermogenesis.

What Is Thermogenesis?

Thermogenesis is partly how your body uses energy to burn calories. The process creates heat and maintains a healthy baseline internal temperature (98.6 degrees fahrenheit ) despite changing environments — like going outside in the cold and then back indoors.

About half of your energy is used just to maintain your core body temperature. Losing weight calls for burning energy — that’s why thermogenesis and weight loss go hand in hand.

The thermogenic process happens in four ways:

  • Diet-induced. Your metabolism increases right after you eat, burning calories and producing heat.

  • Exercise. There’s an increase in heat production, metabolism, and calorie burning when you’re physically active.

  • Non-exercise activity. Your body is still working to maintain its internal temperature while standing, sitting, walking around, and even sleeping.

  • Thermal stress. This is your body’s way of staying warm to compensate for environmental changes.

Raising your core body temperature can potentially help with weight loss since it boosts your metabolic rate.

Ahead, strategies for increasing your core body temperature and warming up quickly.

Wondering how to raise your core body temperature for weight loss? There are things you can do physically, as well as things you can eat or drink to increase thermogenesis.

Here’s what to try for a quick temperature increase.

1. Squeeze in a Workout 

Wondering how to naturally increase core body temperature? When your heart pumps faster, blood flow increases, and your core body temp rises. This is one of the ways regular exercise keeps your metabolism running smoothly. 

Also, when muscles are activated, they generate more heat. That’s why people say, “My thighs are on fire!” while doing squats.

It’s also why pre-workout activities are called warm-ups — the goal is to literally warm up your body temperature with less intense movement before going hard to prevent strains and injuries.

2. Do Jumping Jacks or High Knees 

No time for a full-blown workout? Short of a proper sweat session, you could warm up with other quick movements, like jumping jacks, high knees, or burpees.

Even just a couple of minutes might be enough to get your heart pumping and your blood flowing. And if time allows, going for a quick jog or brisk walk can also do wonders.

Besides helping you achieve a lower body weight, these tried-and-true moves are also good for your cardiovascular health.

3. Layer Up

Putting on more layers is an effective way to warm up, whether you’re working, running errands, or working out. Pro tip: Put on a hat!

4. Plug in a Heating Pad or Reach for a Hot Water Bottle

You can place a heating pad on your lap, wrap yourself in an electric blanket, or snuggle up with a hot water bottle to raise your core body temperature.

5. Take a Warm Shower or Bath 

Taking a hot bath or shower warms you up because the heat makes your blood vessels expand, improving circulation. Just make sure you have something warm to put on afterward so you don’t get cold when you step out!

According to a 2019 study, water-based warm-up methods can be especially great right before bed, as they seem to help improve sleep. And sleep happens to be another crucial component of weight loss.

6. Indulge in Some Sauna Time 

Saunas are small, vented rooms that reach up to 195 degrees, heating up with a stove or hot rocks. Hanging out in one is a sure-fire way to warm up and sweat it out.

Since saunas are traditionally clad in wood, you can lay down and relax in them (wood doesn’t retain heat like tile and metal). Besides potential weight loss, some studies link sauna bathing to reduced stress levels, which also benefits your overall health.

7. Cuddle Up on Someone 

Whether you’re cold outside or inside, getting close to another person and sharing body heat can help raise both of your internal body temperatures.

8. Try Breathing Exercises or Meditation

According to one study, meditation — specifically the Tibetan g-tummo technique — can help raise your internal body temperature.

This is likely because of the visualization elements of meditation, which can help the brain trigger the body to heat up or cool down. It’s a great example of “mind over matter” in action.

9. Have Soup or a Cup of Tea 

Consuming hot liquids like tea, coffee, or soup can help you feel warm because they increase blood flow (it also helps because you can cradle the warm mug with your hands).

That said, slurping soup or sipping tea may not be enough to impact your core body temperature and speed up your metabolism — it might just make you feel warmer.

10. Drink Some Water 

Staying hydrated helps improve every bodily function, including regulating normal body temperature. Drinking water is also a key component of weight loss.

11. Nosh on a Protein-Rich Snack 

According to research, your body uses more energy metabolizing a high-protein diet than a high-fat or high-carbohydrate diet. What’s more, protein is really effective at satiating hunger (making you feel full), so you might eat less overall.

Sometimes, you might be cold because you’re hungry and need more calories to burn. In that case, reach for a protein-rich bite or another healthy snack that supports your weight loss efforts.

12. Eat Something Spicy 

Spicy foods trick your brain into thinking you’re overheating. That’s why peppers are an excellent food to increase core body temperature for weight loss.

One study looked at capsaicin, the active compound in chili peppers. It found various metabolic benefits, particularly aiding in weight loss for people with obesity.

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Your core body temp could drop for a few reasons, like when you’re drinking alcohol, battling an infection, dealing with certain health conditions, or due to the natural aging process.

Here’s what to know.

Alcohol

Research shows that alcohol may interfere with thermogenesis, leading to a lower internal temperature.

Though drinking alcohol can make you feel like you’re warmer (ever heard of a beer blanket?), it doesn’t actually raise your internal temperature. So while you might want to remove layers to cool off, that’ll only make your internal body temperature drop lower. 

Infection

This is one of the most common reasons your body temperature may drop. When your body’s fighting off an infection, it can lead to ups and downs in the thermoregulation process (aka a fever).

Illness

Other non-environmental factors could be health-related.

For instance, many neurologic disorders can impair someone’s response to cold temperatures, as perception can interrupt thermogenesis. And disorders that restrict mobility, like Parkinson’s disease, can limit muscle movement, which is key to heat generation.

Other health conditions that cause lower body temperature include:

  • Hypoglycemia (non-diabetic low blood sugar)

  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis (excessive thirst and frequent urination)

  • Thyroid issues like hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism 

  • Addison’s disease

  • Hypopituitarism (issues with the pituitary gland)

  • Kidney failure

  • Sepsis (life-threatening infection complication)

  • Anorexia nervosa

  • Pheochromocytoma (tumors on the adrenal gland)

Get in touch with your healthcare provider if you think you might have any of these health conditions.

Aging

As you age, your body temperature lowers, partly because circulation isn’t as efficient as it once was.

It also may have to do with cognitive changes  — like not remembering to drink enough water when thirsty, though that can happen no matter your age — as well as thinning skin.

Multiple studies have found links between body temperature and markers of excess weight, including body mass index (BMI), resting heart rate, blood sugar, and insulin levels.

The findings suggest that lower body temperature might be an indicator of obesity in men and postmenopausal women. And those who carry excess weight may have lower metabolisms, which is associated with having a lower core body temperature.

So increasing your core body temperature might be helpful in speeding up your metabolism, burning energy, and ultimately losing weight.

How Temperature Affects Body Fat

You know how to increase core body temperature and metabolism with the techniques above. But how does temperature help your body burn fat?

In a very small study of just five men, temperature seemed to affect how body fat was metabolized. Participants were exposed to different temperatures. When sleeping in mildly cold conditions (around 66 degrees fahrenheit), they saw a large increase in brown fat volume. (Brown fat is the type that burns energy, so more of it means there’s less white fat, the kind that stores energy.)

They also saw a 10 percent increase in metabolizing fat (aka fat loss), alongside improved insulin sensitivity.

But the benefits were only short-term. Once the men were back in warmer temperatures, things went back to normal.

Still, the findings might suggest that people adapt to cooler temperatures by increasing brown fat, potentially leading to improved glucose metabolism (how the body processes and stores blood sugar).

The human body functions best at 98.6 degrees F. However, “normal” — what is normal, anyway? — body temperatures can vary slightly from person to person.

To maintain that temperature, your body continuously adjusts to changing conditions, like when you’re working out, spending time outdoors, or sleeping.

Though your skin might absorb heat or cool air when exposed to the elements, your core body temperature remains roughly the same, hovering around that 98.6-degree sweet spot. So you may feel fluctuations even though your body is self-regulating just fine.

Your brain leads the process of regulating your internal body temperature by comparing it to that baseline temp. When body temperature dips too low, your brain triggers it to generate and retain more heat.

One way it does this is with the “shivers.” When you’re cold, your muscles contract and relax super quickly to generate heat, which makes you quiver or shake.

On the other hand, when your core body temperature gets too high, your brain triggers your body to sweat to cool back down. That’s also why you get the sweats when you break a fever.

That’s just one way body temperature is an indicator of health status. Another seems to be weight and metabolism.

Here’s what to keep in mind about inner body temperature and weight loss:

  • When you’re just going about your day, your internal body temperature remains pretty much the same, thanks to thermoregulation.

  • If you feel cold, there are plenty of ways to heat up — from exercising and throwing on another layer to sipping tea and eating spicy foods.

  • Also, raising your core temperature might be worthwhile for people with overweight or obesity who want to find small ways to help boost metabolic function and weight loss.

There are, of course, other things that can help with weight loss and prevent weight gain, including regular exercise, a nutritional plan, hydration, sleep, and medication.

Take our free online weight loss assessment to start exploring your options.

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