As the days get longer and the weather gets colder it is tempting to hibernate but did you know that exercising in the cold actually has some advantages.
5 Benefits of Cold Weather Workouts:
1. You burn more calories.
For many people this is probably the best and main reason to exercise outside. According to a University of Utah study reported on by the New York Times, basal metabolic rate (that’s how many calories you burn just by existing, without expending any energy) does increase ever so slightly in colder temperatures — which means just trying to stay warm requires more work from your body. As your body workers harder, your metabolism revs up and your body burns more calories and fat to produce energy for your workout.
2. You will strengthen your heart.
Cold weather also makes the heart work harder to distribute blood throughout the body. If you are someone who regularly exercises then this can make your heart muscle even stronger by doing cold-weather sessions, better preparing the body for more strenuous workouts in the future — not to mention other non-exercise stresses in life.
3. Working out in the winter can help fight SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
Get your dose of vitamin D! Even thought it is cold, the the extra sun exposure will give you the same critical nutrients it does throughout the warmer parts of the year. Just remember to wear your sunscreen if you are outside for more than 10 to 15 minutes.
4. Elevate your mood!
The cold stimulates your parasympathetic system. (The sympathetic system is known as the “fight or flight” response while the parasympathetic is known as the “relax and renew” system). By exercising in the cols weather you will trigger the release of dopamine and serotonin which will improve your mood and reduce depression.
5. Boost your immune system
Everyone seems to get a bug or a virus when the weather is colder. It seems at this time of year few of us can escape the winter without succumbing to a cold or even the flu. Did you know that exercising at this time of year, can boost your immune system? Boosting the immune system will help you fight off common winter infections. Some studies have concluded that training in cold weather may reduce your chances of getting winter viruses by up to 30%, compared to those who shun sport at this time of year. So what are you waiting for?