When the days get shorter and the temperature gets colder outside, we often find it easier to skip the usual walk around the neighborhood. Why go out into the cold when you can relax on the couch and enjoy holiday movies on TV? There are several reasons to embrace the cold during your winter fitness routine.
Your metabolism increases: When it is colder outside, your body must work harder to regulate its core temperature. It takes more energy to stay warm, which means your body burns more calories. The calories burned depend on your body mass and the outdoor temperature, but it’s a great reason to add a layer of clothes and go for that walk anyway.
You get vitamin D: Many people become vitamin D deficient during the winter because they stay inside more. By continuing to exercise outside, you can maintain your body’s recommended 1,000-2,000 IUs of vitamin D, which you get primarily from sunlight. No matter the temperature, though, prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays is dangerous, so be sure to wear sunglasses and apply sunscreen.
You are happier. Exercise any time of year produces endorphins that make you feel good. This is especially important during the winter months when seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression related to changes in the seasons, is prevalent. People prone to SAD or depression will significantly benefit from outdoor activity during the winter.
Movement helps. No matter what the weather or what time of year, movement helps in so many ways. It regulates your blood pressure, controls your weight, helps you sleep better and think clearer. Exercise improves your mental health and your sex life. And that’s just the beginning!
Exercising outdoors during the winter certainly has its benefits. Just be sure to stay safe by wearing the right clothes to keep you warm and dry. You don’t want to be outside in wet, sweaty clothing. As always, drink plenty of water, and listen to your body so you don’t overdo it.