Posted on Thu Jan 31, 2019
For those who exercise outdoors, it can be hard to find the motivation to brave the cold for some cardiovascular activity. We’ve put together some of the perks of exercising in cold weather, along with some tips for combating the chill, so you can reap the rewards.
Calorie burning increases in the cold for two reasons. The first is quite straightforward: the cold weather requires more energy to keep your body warm. This, coupled with exercise, increases the number of calories required to produce that energy. The second reason is that brown fat is more active in cold weather. Brown fat burns calories in an effort to produce body heat; this is utilised particularly in babies who aren’t able to shiver. So getting out in the cold can help you burn any extra calories from the overindulging of the festive season rather than converting it into additional fat tissue.
Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins improve your mood. As previously mentioned, exercising in the cold requires your body to expend more energy as it has to work harder to keep warm, while also supplying muscles with blood for respiration, thus releasing more endorphins. The winter months bring with them less sunlight and this can have a negative impact on your mood. Exercising outside provides more exposure to sunlight which can help battle Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Contrary to what your mother may have told you, being out in the cold will not make you ill. In fact, quite the opposite is true. While it is well-known that regular exercise helps to strengthen the immune system, exercising in cold weather can have additional benefits. Pre-exercise shivering can lead to increased norepinephrine response which, in turn, boosts immune response after bouts of exercise. To add to this, remaining indoors in the warm will expose you more to anyone who may be carrying a seasonal cold, so getting outdoors will reduce the chances of you falling victim to the same ailment.
To get started on your cold-weather exercise journey, come prepared for your workout with these tips:
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