It might seem like exercising outdoors is best saved for warmer months, but did you know endorphin production is boosted even more when you exercise in the cold? According to experts, your body has to work harder in the cold, which further boosts endorphin production and increases calorie burn. Plus, cold weather is invigorating! It’s so much more refreshing than running in hot, humid weather.
Exercise in Winter
Research published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that race times are actually faster in cold weather than in warmer temperatures. As a healthier daily activities, there’s nothing worse than running in hot, humid weather – unless of course you’re just looking for a good sweat sesh!
Things To Do Before Exercise Outside in Winter
But there are a few things you should know and prepare for before you head out in the wintry weather:
– Layer up! Make sure your bottom layers are moisture-wicking. Then layer cold weather long-sleeved fitted shirts and a fleece jacket on top. Wear a pair of moisture wicking leggings – and an extra pair on super cold days. Don’t forget gloves, a good pair of socks, and a lightweight hat!
– Make sure you include a proper warm-up before heading outdoors. Muscles are tighter in cold weather, so it’s easier to injure yourself. Jog or march in place for 5 minutes before heading out, and take it slow when you first start.
– This is not the time to increase your mileage or try new trails. If you slip on ice and you’re far from home, it could be disastrous in wintry weather, and you don’t always know the conditions of new routes and trails. It’s also not the best idea to try to increase your mileage in cold weather, especially if you’re not used to it. You certainly don’t want to exhaust yourself 3 miles from home; if you have to stop, your body temperature will drop rapidly and you’ll increase your risk for hypothermia.
– Start slow instead, aiming to run about half the distance you run indoors or in the summer. It’s harder on your body, so work your way up there.
– Avoid cooling down outdoors. It’s okay to slow your pace or walk at the very end, but don’t overdo it. Your muscles will just tighten back up before you get to stretch. Cool down and stretch when you get indoors.
– Don’t forget to stay hydrated. Remember, your body has to work harder when you exercise in cold weather. Just because it doesn’t seem like you’re sweating as much as in the summer, doesn’t mean you’re not.
– Don’t try and run in hazardous conditions. Stay inside and hit the treadmill if it’s too cold or windy, and especially during snow storms!