Show of hands: How many of you get excited about gearing up with cold weather apparel to go outside and exercise? Okay, so we can’t see your hands through our blog, but we’re guessing that most of you shivered a bit just at the thought of going outdoors to exercise. We get it. Wisconsin winters are, well, cold. And it’s much cozier to stay indoors wrapped up in your favorite blanket, watching movies next to the fireplace while a warming fire crackles away. BUT, before you throw winter workouts to the wind, consider this: exercising outdoors in the winter has some ah-mazing benefits.
You’ll burn more calories during winter workouts.
Wait – winter workouts burn more calories? You betcha. Since your body is working harder to regulate its core temperature out in the elements, it burns a few extra calories in an effort to produce energy for your workout.
Winter workouts will help build your endurance.
If burning more calories wasn’t enough, here’s a little icing on your cake. Winter workouts will also increase your endurance. Experts claim that we can control our body temperatures better in cold weather versus hot weather. Because of this, our tolerance for exercise improves and we can last longer during our workouts. In turn, this positively impacts your endurance.
Winter workouts strengthen your heart.
Winter workouts can strengthen the heart muscle. For those that already have a bit of cardiovascular endurance, it makes the heart work harder to distribute blood throughout the body.
You’ll get a dose of vitamin D during winter workouts.
That sunshine we all enjoy so much in the warmer months can also provide our bodies with some valuable nutrients during the winter months. Plus, the benefits of soaking up the rays in the winter will feel even more substantial than in the summertime because the amount of natural light is already so limited. Struggling with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)? Getting a little extra vitamin D can help with that, too!
Winter workouts will boost your mood.
Believe it or not, winter workouts can bring a bit of happiness to your day. As the body works harder to stay warm, the number of endorphins produced also increases. This will leave you with a stronger sense of post-workout cheerfulness.
Find extra energy with winter workouts.
Need a little extra energy this winter? Cold-weather workouts will help with that, too. We’re typically a little more sedentary in the winter than we are during the rest of the year. Research suggests that when sedentary people get moving, their fatigue disappears.
Winter workouts will ward off winter weight gain.
We all know it’s a thing. The temps drop and hibernation mode begins. We settle in for winter wrapped up on the sofa in fuzzy slippers surrounded by comfort foods. Next thing we know, spring has arrived and our favorite pair of skinny jeans no longer fits comfortably. This year, ditch the comfort foods for an invigorating winter workout. Instead of gaining weight, you’ll continue to gain on all of the hard work you put in this summer.
Keep your winter workouts safe.
Now that you’ve decided to give cold-weather exercise a go, keep it safe. Here are a few tips for training in the cold:
- Hydrate before, during, and after your workout
- Check the forecast before heading out
- Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia
- Dress in layers
- Wear layers that can easily be changed as necessary
- Protect your hands, feet, and ears
- Remember sunscreen
- Don’t forget safety gear (sunglasses, reflective clothing, lights, etc.)
- Watch for ice