When we get cold, sometimes our bodies start moving — even if we don’t mean for them to. Our teeth chatter, and different parts of our bodies shake and quake, no matter how still we try to stay.
Shivering is one of several ways the body tries to keep warm when it’s cold. It’s part of a process called homeostasis, which means that your body wants to keep things consistent. In other words, your insides need to stay about the same temperature, no matter how hot or cold it is outside and shivering helps make that happen.
When your warm body (which is about 98.6 degree Fahrenheit) is exposed to cold air, the heat from your body flows into the air. This is because heat always flows from a hot object to a cold object, as a way of balancing out the differences in temperature. It’s like when you put a pot of water on the stove and the hot fire warms the cold water. Only in this case, you’re the fire and the heat from your body is warming up the air around you. If the air is cold enough to steal your body heat, you feel cold. To make up for all the heat you’re losing to the cold air, your body shivers to try to produce even more warmth.
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