A man running along a snowy road as part of his winter workout

What are the Benefits of Training in Cold Weather?


It is tempting when the temperature drops to stay inside and substitute your normal workout for something less strenuous. However, did you know that working out during the colder months actually comes with some benefits that you might not have previously considered?

Below we have listed a few of our favourite reasons for keeping up that fitness schedule throughout Autumn and into Winter and how you can reap the benefits!

Improves Your Mood

In a study published in Environmental Science and Technology, it has been found that exercising outdoors can increase your energy and decrease levels of tension, frustration and depression. Whilst this should be enough motivation to get you outdoors and moving around, Sean Burch, world record holder for running a marathon at the North Pole has suggested that the colder climate might increase these positive feelings!

Kevin Plancher, M.D, head of Plancher Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in New York City states that “all exercise can increase your levels of those feel-good hormones, endorphins, but, because your body has to work harder in the cold, your endorphin production is boosted even more, leading to a happier state of mind”.

 

You Burn More Calories

During the colder winter months, your body maintains a higher number of calories than at any other point in the year so that you can survive throughout the harsh, and rapidly decreasing climate. Unfortunately, these calories tend to be stored as fat which, as with a culmination of overeating over the Christmas period, can be why people tend to gain weight over the festive period.

When exercising outside, your body works harder to regulate your temperature. After being inside and (hopefully!) feeling the warmth benefits of being indoors, your body has to work extra hard due to the contrasting temperatures when you step outside. Whilst the number of calories that you will burn can vary from person-to-person, due to being influenced by factors such as the temperature and your body mass, the extra calories lost through working out is a nice, bonus!

 

You Can Build Up a Tolerance to the Temperature

The first time you notice a drop in the temperature outside can almost feel painful – especially if you are unprepared. If you find yourself missing those summer workouts and the feeling of the sunrays on your back as you complete your morning run, then you’re not alone. However, getting out and following a routine will be made easier the more you take part in it, despite the change in the elements! John Honerkamp, coach of the New York Road Runners, advises, however, that it is “important to adjust your expectations as you acclimatise”. Your body needs to understand what is expected of it, even though there has been a temperature change. With this being said, the more you work out outdoors, the better your body can cope with the changing conditions, so soon you’ll be finding yourself up to your usual pace!

 

You’ll Boost Your Immune System

As the summer turns into a distant memory, autumn brings in a host of new things to look out for; red leaves on the trees, earlier evenings and more bugs and viruses making the rounds! Although viruses and illnesses are sometimes unavoidable, exercising at this time of the year can help your body fight off any winter infections that you may come into contact with.

 

You’ll Get a Dose of Vitamin D

Now you may understand the importance of getting out in the summer to expose your body to some vitamin D, but it is also possible to provide your body with enough of the vitamin during the winter months too. Just because the temperature has dropped, it doesn’t mean that the little rays of sun poking through the clouds cannot benefit you! In fact, the relative gain feels more substantial in the winter months as the amount of natural light is reduced so considerably.

 

These are just a few of our favourite reasons that you should exercise outdoors during the winter months. However, you have to keep in mind that extra precautions must be made over the coming months as the under-foot conditions can change, resulting in injury. With slippery surfaces, you are putting yourself at risk of fracturing bones, with injuries such as broken ankles made more possible.

If you find yourself suffering from an injury as a result of an outdoor workout, Physicool has a range of products that are here to help. So, whether you’ve hurt your knee or have a broken ankle, pain relief is available for you to try out and minimise those nasty side effects that you may be experiencing.

We’d also love to hear from you if you have any other reasons why you love working out outside, so get in touch on our social media channels!

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