Thermogenic Exercise Works Around the Clock!

Thermogenic Exercise is similar to isometric exercise in that it involves only the contraction of the muscles without actual movement. The main difference is in what causes the muscles to contract. With isometrics it is a conscious contraction of the muscle or a force applied to an immovable object. With thermogenic exercise, the muscles contract from the involuntary or subconscious action caused by lower ambient temperatures.

Dr. Paul-Robert Thomas, a French physician, describes thermogenic toning in his book "Refreshingly Thin." In it he explains in some details the effects of thermogenesis on the muscular system. "Thermogenesis" means heat creation which the body accomplishes via muscular tensions and high -frequency contractions.

Dr. Thomas explains that thermogenesis has both a mechanical and chemical origin. The tension on muscles provides more than half of our body temperature (37.2 degrees C or 98.6 F). However, this heat generation increases as the body is exposed to cooler temperatures.

He writes: "If exposed to cold, muscle tone gradually increases by reflex and even causes, if the temperature still drops, true muscular contractions having a low amplitude but a high rate of repetitions: it is a shiver which we will call here a "thermogenic shiver." The purpose of these muscular contractions, without meaningful variations of the muscle length, is to essentially supply heat. Voluntary or unvoluntary muscular activity supplies one third of the mechanical energy and two thirds of the caloric energy. When any muscular activity takes place, the body warms up, which explains the fact that physical activity is desirable in a cold environment, but avoided in a warm environment."

It should be noted that the thermogenic shiver is not the same as the surprise shiver. For example, when you step under a cold shower there is an initial "surprise shiver." However, the thermogenic shiver will only follow after some minutes under the cold when the teeth begin to chatter, followed by other bodily signs of a cold person.

Fortunately, it is not necessary to experience thermogenic shivering to experience involuntary muscle toning. Dr. Thomas continues his explanation of thermogenic exercise:

"A decrease in central temperature raises muscle toning. This means that tension is accentuated between the two extremities of the muscles. This causes a pulling of the muscle insertions, articulations, envelopes and articular ligaments. The stretching of the skeletal elements which had slowly retraced from lack of activity, causes pains which are reminiscent of rheumatism. When cooled, muscles that perform some regular exercise, consume their reserve glycogen which then turns into lactic acid. It is this acidification of the muscles which causes this uncomfortable stiffness that is also reminiscent of arthritic pains."

"Therefore, back pains caused by sleeping without blankets are nothing more than muscular and ligamentous pains due to a fatigue of the dorsal and lumbar muscles which have worked longer than usual because of the night-time thermogenic activity."

There you have the method of exercising while you sleep! By sleeping with less coverings and thus increasing the thermogenic activity, you will in fact be performing muscular exercising during the night hours.

Dr. Thomas continues: "Thermogenic toning maintains muscle condition but there is a difference between isometric and isotonic muscular work. Isometric contractions correspond to an increase in motionless muscular toning: this applies to thermogenic muscle toning which pulls on the articulations without using them. Conversely, isotonic contractions correspond to real movement. Cold therefore has a tendency to stiffen the articulations. Thus, it is absolutely necessary to complement the muscle work needed for toning with a limbering of the ligamentous articulations. Two minutes of daily limbering exercises are ample enough to preserve the original flexibility of our body. This is the price we must pay for health."

In order to benefit from thermogenic exercise, it is only necessary to expose oneself to the cold on a regular basis. By taking cool showers or baths, swimming in cool water, turning down the thermostat, dressing lighter, putting away the extra blankets, etc., you will invigorate your entire body and tone your muscles automatically.

Return from Thermogenic Exercise to The Exercise Protocol