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  • Daniel K, MSpCoach

Benefits of Working Out During Winter


I know that there has been quite a few of you who have remained extremely consistent with working out during the first two months of winter, and I am sure you can attest to what the rest of this blog will say. If you’ve found that your commitment has waned, you still have one more month of winter where you can reap the benefits of working out during winter.


I’m sure you can agree to the fact that cold weather workouts have a different element of challenge compared to warmer weather workouts. The body loses heat faster through convective heat transfer, and it may be challenging to maintain the core temperature of your internal organs as you work out. To work out in cold weather, you need to make appropriate preparations. This includes appropriate clothing that are both warm and comfortable enough to exercise in. Additionally, the temptation to stay indoors and sleep in a little longer, or snuggle up on the couch to watch Netflix may make it very difficult to exercise, but if you are disciplined enough and you do go out, winter workouts can have several benefits on your body and your mind. These include:


1. It Improves Your Mood

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or ‘winter blues’ is characterized by general feelings of gloom, despair or hopelessness. According to research published in Psychiatry, approximately 20% of Americans suffer from mild to severe depression during winter, while in Australia that number hovers around 15%. One of the best ways of combating these feelings of sadness is by working out. Workouts can help our bodies secrete more feel-good hormones. Researchers have found that workouts are up to 4 times more effective than taking antidepressants in the relief of depression symptoms. If you decide to exercise outdoors, you will not only get fresh air and boost your mood but also get a good dose of vitamin D.


2. It Boosts Your Immune System

Each winter brings around an array of illnesses, and most people blame it purely on the cold weather. However, it is the viruses that make us sick and being congested in a heated, confined room can expose you to more viruses compared to venturing outdoors.


3. It Is Great Cardiovascular Exercise

Both your body and the cardiovascular system work harder when working out in cold weather. Your heart works harder to pump blood, and this keeps it healthy and in good shape. With heart diseases being on the rise, it is a great thing to know that winter workouts can help in keeping your heart healthy and strong.


4. It Makes Increasing Workout Intensity Less Difficult

If you like to run, bike, or walk, the humidity and heat of summer can make it challenging to up your distance or intensity. On the other hand, cold weather makes it easier to handle more intensity since you are not subjected to that stress. If you want to break a new personal record in a race, you should try working out during winter. According to a study that was published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercises, marathon runners recorded slow performance in warm temperatures as compared to colder temperatures.


5. You Burn More Calories

When working out during winter, your metabolism will slightly speed up as your body will try and maintain homeostasis. This increase in metabolism will mean that you are burning calories at a higher rate than you would otherwise. Being able to stay committed to your health eating plan during winter, will give an added boost as you’ll be better positioned to remain in a caloric deficit. Which can mean, winter can be a great time to drop a few extra kilos.


Despite the challenges of working out during winter, there are many benefits that are available to you if you give it a go. It might mean needing to make a slight change in schedule if possible, but the commitment to your goals, and the consistency that you show are the keys here.


Hope you have a great last month of winter and can head into spring on a great note.


DK

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