It’s common for people to pack on the pounds a bit around the holiday season. Not only is it prime time for baking cookies and chugging eggnog, but cold weather and icy grounds can hinder the ability to train outdoors. It’s tough to get yourself to even step foot outside under these conditions. Sometimes it’s even tough to motivate yourself to jump in the car and head to the gym.
However, there are some major benefits of training in the outdoors during the winter, and there are also some tips to follow in order to get through the circumstances.
Benefits of Training Outdoors During The Winter
Training outside in the cold can seem tougher when it comes to breathing properly and the motivation to keep going. Running in low temperatures can make your mouth dry, chest tight, and breathing a workout in itself. However, training outdoors in the winter can be beneficial for your body. According to HuffPost, there are 7 reasons that getting exercise outdoors this winter is a good thing.
- You’ll burn more calories
- It strengthens your heart
- It’ll make you drink more water
- Your body can build a tolerance to the cold
- It will force you to warm-up your and cool-down your body properly
- You’ll get your daily dose of vitamin D
- You’ll feel more energized.
Training in the cold weather forces your body to work extra hard to maintain a normal core body temperature. While it does this, your body burns more calories in the process. Your heart also has to work to deliver blood to the rest of your body, strengthening the heart. While you sweat more when you workout in the heat, you can become dehydrated just as quickly training in the cold.
The air absorbs the moisture, making it seems like you’re losing less water throughout your workout. For this reason, it’s imperative to drink water both before and after training. Warming up and cooling down becomes an essential part of the workout when you train in cold temperatures. Without those, your body becomes tight and you risk getting injured. You’ll be able to feel this tightness and feel the need to stretch out and warm up your body.
It’s common for people to lack the vitamin D they need during the winter because they spend less time outdoors. Even 10-15 minutes a day can give you the vitamin D you need to maintain the required nutrient as you do throughout the warmer parts of the year.
The chill also boosts your mood in a way that working out in a hot gym doesn’t. Along with burning more calories, the more your body fights to stay warm, the more endorphins it releases, making you feel happier. Working out in the cold is even good for your immune system.
What Steps You Should Take Before Working Out In The Cold
Though working out in the winter can be good for your body, there are some steps you have to take to make sure you’re preparing correctly for the conditions. FreeLetics blog comments on seven things you can do to prepare for a workout in the cold.
- Warm-up and stretch thoroughly
- Once you start moving, don’t stop
- Dress warmly
- Be mindful of your breathing
- Don’t stay outside for too long
- Workout during the day
- Pack your diet with fruits and vegetables
A lot of these go hand in hand with the benefits of working outside during the winter. Warming up well is a benefit because it prevents injuries due to tight muscles and the cold. It’s also a must-do, for the same reason. It’s important to keep up the work while you’re out there so your muscles don’t go stiff.
Again, a cool down is necessary in order to prevent injury. When dressing for outdoor training, it’s best to wear layers. The moment you step outside you’ll be chilly, but once you start moving, you’re going to sweat. Wearing layers allows you to take off or put on clothing as needed, dependent on the intensity of your workout.
For additional health benefits during the winter months, take a vitamin c or curcumin supplement to make sure you’re getting enough antioxidants to keep your immune system operating at peak efficiency.
When working out in the freezing weather, you usually get a burning sensation in your throat and chest. When this happens, you have to pay close attention to inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. You may also want to consider a breathing mask to keep the air you inhale warmer.
You shouldn’t linger outside after you’ve finished your workout. Your immune system is especially weak in the cold, and being drenched in sweat as well is a great combination for a cold or the flu. When you get into the warmth, take a hot shower as soon as possible. You should workout during the day for vitamin D. Lastly, eating your fruits and vegetables provides you with the vitamins and minerals needed to help your body resist the cold.