Turning down the thermostat to save some money could cost older women by raising their risk of falls, according to a new European study.
In an experiment with 88 women over age 70, researchers found that just 45 minutes of exposure to chilly room temperatures hampered muscle responses and walking ability. “This is really quite striking for such a short period of time,” Professor Dawn Skelton told Reuters Health.
“The colder temperature we used was only one degree below what you are legally allowed to keep an office building.” Research has shown that muscle has to be at a certain temperature in order to work properly, said Skelton, a professor at Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland and an author of the study.
“This is true even in younger people where a drop by just one degree could mean a 25 percent loss of muscle power,” she said.