This Is Why You Should Exercise In The Cold

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If you think that snow on the ground exonerates you from working out, you are, as you already know in your heart, wrong. In fact, exercising in the cold actually confers a few unique health benefits that you don’t get when you work out in relative comfort. So if you’re wondering whether or not to go for that icy morning run, go for it. You won’t regret it (or at least you shouldn’t).

Keeping up an exercise routine during the holiday season is notoriously difficult. There’s the constant food, the battling commitments and, of course, the cold. Be sure to keep exercising. You’ll enjoy these specific benefits.

For one, your metabolism will be working harder. In the cold, your body has to expend more energy to keep your core temperature up. The consequence is that you end up burning way more calories while exercising. It’s especially efficient at burning up brown fat cells.

When you work out in the cold, you also end up boosting your vitamin D. It’s very common to spend less time outdoors in the winter months than at other times of the year, contributing to potential vitamin D deficiency.

You’re supposed to get 1,000 to 2,000 IUs of vitamin D every day. Getting out of doors is a good way to fulfill that. Be sure to wear sunscreen. Even if it’s cold out, UV radiation doesn’t discriminate.

Working out in the cold also often provokes you to move more quickly and therefore burn more calories. A study published inĀ Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise showed that race times are typically quicker in cold weather vs warm weather. The faster you run, the more calories you burn.

Working out in the cold also improves mood. Exercising in any weather makes you happier, and it’s not like the cold releases more endorphins. It’s just more important to do it when it’s cold and dark, because you’re more at risk for seasonal affective disorder, a species of depression that’s related to gloomy conditions. If you stay moving, your mood will lift.

If you don’t have an exercise regimen, it’s a good time to start one. Don’t wait until it becomes a New Years Resolution, because who keeps those? Also, why do you need a special occasion to commit to not being sick and miserable? This holiday season, put on your warmest sneakers and go for a jog or ten. You will feel better.

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