The arrival of winter usually means packed gyms and fitness classes. All of this increases exposure to germs and viruses, wait times for equipment, and gym burnout. The thought of having to train outside during cooler weather may have some shivering with the idea. If you dress in layers, protect your hands and feet, and pay attention to the forecast to help you stay safe and warm while exercising outdoors in cold weather.
Need more motivation to take your fitness outside this winter besides a crowded gym or COVID? Below are five benefits from training outside in cold weather:
#1: Catching Those Winter Rays.
The winter months mean fewer hours of daylight. Getting out into the winter Sun increases Vitamin D exposure and combats seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
#2: Flipping Fat
Cold weather maximizes caloric burn. Training in the cold transforms white fat, specifically belly, and thigh fat, into brown fat. Brown fat is used to generate heat rather than store calories.
#3: Going the Distance
Less heat and humidity, along with the chill in the air, can invigorate you. In the cold, your body can better regulate its temperature compared to the steamy summer months. This may allow you to exercise farther or longer.
#4: Boosting Immunity
According to the Mayo Foundation, cold-weather training could reduce your chances of catching a cold or the flu by 20-30%.
#5: Beating the Odds
Cold weather constricts blood vessels and forces your heart to work harder to pump blood around the body during exercise. With heart disease as the number one killer in the U.S., why not train your heart to work more efficiently?
Like training outside in the summer months, one needs to take a few steps to be prepared. Monitor the weather, dress in layers, use gloves and hats, utilize proper footwear, and keep hydrated.
Most importantly, train with common sense. If the weather is too extreme or you are not feeling well - stay at home. Gains are made with smart choices and rest. If you have certain medical conditions, such as asthma or heart disease, check with your physician before heading out into the winter wonderland.