The temperature drops outside, winter kicks in and we get it – this makes a lot of us feel like hibernating indoors and waiting it out till the sunny and longer days return. Exercise will usually take a back seat but if you decide to brave the cold and leave the electric heater behind you will soon find training in cold weather can bring plenty of benefits to not just your body but your mind too. Let’s explore some here and help you see the ‘bright ‘ side to keeping your training routine going!
Boosts your Immune system
It’s usually around this time that the flu and other viruses become common and do the rounds, only a few escape the season without being hit. Doing exercise will not only help you fight off any symptoms of a cold or flu but reduce the likelihood of you even being affected and the severity of the flu/cold if you do catch it. Your immune system is able to work harder and is more prepared to fight off illness and symptoms.
Beat the Winter Blues
Cooler months bring dark nights but for some the cooler months bring some pretty dark days as well. This can be a condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This can show symptoms of your mood slightly dropping or just feeling off and SAD can lead to a gloomy few months for those who are not aware or have not yet learnt to manage it. The good news is that one of the fastest and most effective ways to combat this is to lace up and get your exercise in! Either hitting the pavement for a mind clearing run or jumping in on a group workout can really work wonders for your emotional health and you will feel the benefits almost straight away! In fact, research has shown that a good workout can be up to four times more effective than taking antidepressants, for improving symptoms of depression. As well as being an effective mood booster and pick-me-up, getting outdoors in the fresh air in cold weather can help replenish vitamin D levels in the skin.
Create the perfect combo by getting outside to soak up the sun while you do it and your body is releasing endorphins from your workout which will have you feeling perked up for the rest of your day!
Great cardiovascular workout
Cold weather forces your body to work harder during training, and this also applies to your cardiovascular system. As the heart works harder to pump blood around the body during cold weather exercise, this invigorating workout helps to keep your heart healthy and cardiovascular fitness in check. With cardiovascular disease being a major health threat in this country, anything that strengthens your own heart is a smart move.
Burn more calories
Think of a wintertime workout as a supercharged version of your normal sweat session! Because whatever workout you do, the cold weather will max out your caloric burn. This is due to the body working much harder to keep its core temperature regulated. As the body works to stay warm, the metabolism is kicked into overdrive and your body burns through more calories and fat. So not only can you give yourself a pat on the back for getting out of bed , you can also enjoy the return on your investment knowing that work you put in will have greater effect than if you were to complete that under warmer conditions.
Presents new training opportunities
The winter weather gives you the opportunity to try activities you may not have experienced before or are not able to perform at your highest level during the summer months. Embrace the winter workouts for the new opportunities that come with them. You could try your hand at something new such as skiing or even cold water swimming, which has been proven to alleviate stress and aid body circulation.
With all these amazing benefits in mind, you should be feeling eager to get out there and get your sweat on! Endless perks to be enjoyed but along with that new found drive comes the use of common sense as well. Ensure you are staying safe by protecting yourself in cold conditions with the appropriate clothing and protective wear. Avoid venturing too far in extreme conditions and continue to stay hydrated! Don’t let the cooler months let your thirty cue be ignored. Even though it’s not hot you are still losing water and electrolytes through sweating and normal body functions. Always remember to do a proper warm-up and cool down. There is no more important time to focus on this area of your fitness routine. This will make sure you are maximizing your workouts and staying safe while reaping the benefits!