Have you ever learned that some animals are “warm-blooded” while others are “cold-blooded”? Warm-blooded animals are those who are able to keep their body temperature relatively consistent regardless of the temperature around them. Cold-blooded animals, on the other hand, usually have a body temperature that is about the same as the environment around them – their bodies are hot when the weather is hot, and their bodies are cold when the weather is cold!
If you guessed that humans fall into the “warm-blooded” category, then you were right! The human body’s average normal temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Some people are naturally a little warmer or a little cooler, but the human body is programmed to keep its temperature as close to 98.6 as possible. Because our bodies are warm-blooded, when we get too hot or too cold (such as from playing soccer on a summer day or building a snowman in December), our bodies do certain things to get back to about 98.6 degrees! You’re probably already familiar with what some of these are: For cooling down we usually sweat, while for warming up we shiver!
There’s a special part of the brain in charge of regulating all of this temperature control. (After all, it’s not like you command yourself to sweat!) Located at the base of the brain, this special part is called the hypothalamus. In addition to body temperature, the hypothalamus also regulates things like thirst, hunger, and emotions. – And yet, it’s only about the size of a pea!!
Further informationThe bodies of warm-blooded animals (which include mammals and birds) have ways of regulating their body temperature to warm up or cool down when necessary.For cold-blooded animals (which include reptiles, fish, invertebrates, and amphibians) it’s a little different! – The bodies of cold-blooded animals cannot regulate temperature on their own if the weather around them is too hot or too cold. To warm up, these animals often sit in the sun and to cool down, they often stay very still in the shade. For this reason, cold-blooded animals are often restricted to living only in certain places, where the climate can accommodate the needs of their body temperature!
Getting comfyEven though there are things your body does to naturally warm up or cool down, there are other things you can do to help your body out!
What are some things that help you to warm up when it's really cold outside? Moving around is one thing that can be helpful. Anything from doing a couple of jumping jacks to rubbing your hands together can help you to warm up! Drinking a warm drink like tea or hot milk can also help you feel warmer when it's cold.
What are some things that help you to cool down when it's really hot outside? Sitting in a shady, breezy place and drinking cold water is a great way to cool off, and so is taking a swim or a quick cool shower.
What are some other things you can think of to help you warm up or cool down??
Sources & links
"warm-bloodedness." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 19 Jan. 2010 "cold-bloodedness." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 19 Jan. 2010 "body heat." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 19 Jan. 2010 "thermoreception." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 19 Jan. 2010 “Divisions of the Nervous System: Brain Structure.” Neuroscience for Kids. The University of Washington. 19 Jan. 2010