Baby, it’s cold outside and that’s reason enough for most of us to stay indoors and skip that morning run.
No one would blame you. Those freezing temperatures are uncomfortable at best and can be dangerous if you don’t properly bundle up.
But did you know you are missing out on some real benefits to your health by not taking that frosty morning jog? It’s true. Exercising outdoors during the cold winter months can make your transition into spring and summer workouts even easier. Here’s how:
- Burn more calories: You’re pushing your body harder, revving up your metabolism and in turn burning more fat and calories for energy to fuel your workout.
- Endurance gain: By pushing through the cold you are strengthening your heart, lungs and circulatory system.
- Feel better: The cold stimulates your parasympathetic system (also known as fight for flight response) triggering endorphins that release dopamine and serotonin that make you happy, feel good and in some cases ease depression.
- Strengthen your heart: The cold temperatures make the heart work harder to distribute blood.
- You’ll drink more water: Water evaporates quickly in cold temperatures so it’s important to hydrate before, during and after your cold-weather workouts.
- Build a tolerance for the cold: Running in the cold is tough at first, but it will get easier. Focus more on the effort you are putting into your runs rather than the time and distance.
- Vitamin D: Something we all miss during winter. Don’t let the cold stop you from getting a little much-needed sunshine. Remember, you will still need sunscreen.
- Boost your immunity: Staying active is one of the best ways to fight off colds and flu.
There are also some precautions you’ll need to take when venturing out in the cold:
- Check with your doctor: Most people can exercise safely in cold weather, but there are risks for people who have asthma and certain heart issues.
- Check the temperature: When the temperatures turn extreme it’s better to be safe than sorry. When the temperature hits single digits or below, exercise indoors.
- Dress in layers: Starting out, you’ll need those extra layers to keep warm. But as your exercising progresses, you’ll need to remove layers to keep from overheating.
- Protect your extremities: Cold weather is hard on your circulation. Even though you’re exercising, you still need gloves, good socks and ear muffs to prevent frostbite.