With gyms closed it can be tempting to put exercise on hold rather than face the winter weather. However cold weather training can be exactly the boost you need in the winter months.
Braving the cold weather and then choosing to push your self to train in it is tough. It takes dedication and a genuine desire to stay active throughout winter, but if you can do it, the benefits far outweigh the challenge.
Extra calories burnt: Just maintaining your body temperature against the ambient air temperature means burning more calories. This can help balance out winter weight gain.
Hello, brown fat: If you can make outdoor exercise a habit, some studies have shown prolonged and repeated exercise in cold temperatures cause a shift from white fat cells to ‘more active’ brown fat cells. This shift can alter your metabolism to improve fat utilisation during exercise.
At rest: In addition to cold-weather exercise burning more calories than it’s warm weather equivalent and your metabolism changing to keep up, another study has shown that these changes also stimulate your resting metabolism to burn more calories.
Stay in circulation: The colder temperature means your body tries to keep blood in the warmer core and vasoconstriction tries to keep blood away from your extremities. The heart has to work harder to overcome the bodies cold response and keep blood flowing through muscles. This extra challenge on the heart can help strengthen it over time.
Outdoor immunity: While managing social distancing, cold weather can improve your immune system. A 1996 study showed that repeated cold exposure over several weeks stimulated an improved immune system.
SAD: The release of endorphins from exercise can help combat seasonal affective disorder symptoms and improve overall mood.
New challenges, new opportunities: If you usually use the same ten pieces of gym equipment, you can use outdoor training to challenge oblique and stabiliser muscles you wouldn’t usually. Changing up the routine can also develop new motor skills.
So if you want to get into shape over the winter months, get outside and get training.