Benefits of Cold Weather Exercise
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What Are the Advantages of Working Out in the Cold
Many people who exercise outside find it difficult to work out in the cold as the holiday season draws near, but they don’t have to. Is exercising outside when it’s chilly bad? Working out in the cold, such as walking, running, or cycling is actually quite helpful as long as you use prudence. Just like with most exercise, exercising in cold weather can enhance your mood and mental health as well as your cardiovascular and muscular endurance. People’s definitions of “cold weather” vary, but generally speaking, it’s thought to be cold outside when it’s uncomfortable to be outside for longer than brief periods of time. The stark contrast between the ambient temperature and the inside temperature of the human body is the cause of this pain.
While being outside in cold weather may necessitate the use of a coat or jacket to prevent feeling chilly, it also has several advantages over being in a warm environment. Your body needs to work harder to maintain homeostasis (or balance) in a chilly environment, which requires energy in the process and has certain metabolic benefits Let’s examine more closely how exercising in the cold helps almost your
1. Burn Additional Calories
Why is exercising in the cold more difficult? One explanation is that your body has to work more to function in colder environments, primarily because it needs to produce more heat to keep your muscles, organs, and limbs warm. Your body needs more energy whenever it experiences “stress,” which might involve strenuous changes in elevation or temperature as well as physical activity itself. As a result, your muscles consume carbohydrates-derived glycogen more quickly in order to fuel themselves the form of human fat known as “brown fat” aids in controlling body temperature. When we’re outside in the chilly weather, brown fat burns calories to heat our bodies and raise body temperature helping to slightly enhance metabolisms.
“Studies demonstrate that exercising in cold temperatures can change white fat, notably belly and thigh fat, into calorie-burning brown fat,” claims Harvard Health Publishing. Exercise in the cold can potentially aid weight loss efforts since it stimulates brown fat more than exercise at room temperature does.Even so, research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism indicated that exercising in the cold can burn more calories than exercising in warmer weather.
2. May Aid in Increasing Endurance
Due to increased sweating and a quicker heart rate when exercising in the heat, you may easily become weary. On the other hand, working out in the cold may help you to exercise for a longer period of time, which may make it easier for you to increase your stamina and endurance What temperature should athletes exercise or compete in to increase their endurance According to research, it’s between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit as this is the temperature that makes it most comfortable to breathe quickly and strain yourself However, training in significantly colder temperatures is also safe. (For further information on exercising in various temps, see below.)
3. Battles Seasonal Affective Disorder and Depression
One proven method for preventing seasonal affective disorder, a sort of mood illness/depression that tends to affect people during the dark winter months, is to exercise outdoors in the winter when you are exposed to sunlight. Exercise and sunlight both improve your mood for a variety of reasons, including the release of more “feel good” neurotransmitters like serotonin and endorphins. Another benefit of exercising in cold weather for mental cognitive health? According to several research, persons who exercise outside in the cold seem to have better concentration, attention, and memory. According to another study, exercise generally helps with attention and reduces anxiety.
4. May Promote Sounder Sleep
You can relax and sleep more soundly at night by getting enough sunshine exposure during the day, breathing fresh air, and engaging in some physical activity. Your circadian rhythm, often known as your “internal clock,” controls how alert you feel in the morning to wake up and how exhausted you feel at night to fall asleep Exercise’s stress-relieving benefits, whether performed inside or outside, are crucial for preventing insomnia.
5. Promotes Metabolic and Heart Health
Almost all forms of exercise are good for your heart and can improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control Regular exercise, such as brisk walking or jogging outside, has been associated with a lower risk for common health issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar levels.
How to Work Out in the Cold (Best Exercises)
What are the greatest activities to perform while it is cold outside?
These include “cardio” or cardiovascular activities like running, rapid walking, jogging, or cycling (if the wind isn’t too uncomfortable), as well as ice skating, playing hockey, snowshoeing, downhill skiing, and snowboarding Outside, you can also perform circuit training or sprint exercises even though it’s January, are you ready to work out outside? What you should know is as follows:
1. Dynamic stretches to warm up
Warming up correctly before exercising in cold weather is important since injured muscles and joints are more likely to occur when they are inactive and cold Do dynamic forms of stretching as opposed to conventional “static stretches,” in which you maintain a fixed position. Motion is incorporated into dynamic stretching, which increases blood flow to the muscles and helps prevent injuries by increasing circulation Before exercising outside in the cold, do these dynamic stretches for a few minutes:
- broad arm and leg circles (aim for about 20 of each)
- Neck and shoulder sag
- tapping of the toes
2. Retain hydration
Believe it or not, being chilly makes you more likely to become dehydrated because your thirst sense decreases, your body uses water to keep you warm, and you lose water through breathing out moist air, which leads to fluid loss in the lungs Water should be consumed before, during, and after exercise. Drinking something warm beforehand, such as hot tea, can help you feel more at ease with the cold at first.
3. Enhance Nutrient Intake Prior to and Following
No matter the weather or the season, eating a balanced meal with protein and complex carbohydrates is essential for exercise. Prior to and during cold weather exercise, it’s crucial to maximize your food intake because your muscles require protein and carbohydrates to stay nourished, heal damage, and regenerate stronger Eat a meal high in protein and carbohydrates around one to three hours before working out. (Avoid eating anything too substantial before doing out because it can give you a stomachache.)If you exercise vigorously for more than an hour, you might choose to eat a carbohydrate-rich snack in the middle of your workout to keep you motivated. After a challenging workout, consume protein and carbohydrates within one to two hours.
How to Dress
Wearing the appropriate clothing will assist keep your body’s core temperature warm when the outside temperature decreases. You might feel less stiff or tight by wearing clothing and accessories that help retain body heat Here are some suggestions for what to wear when working out outside in the cold:
Wear layers of clothes. Ideally, your bottom layer should be made of a synthetic material that wicks moisture away from your body, such as nylon, polyester, or polypropylene. Compared to wearing cotton, you feel less cold and damp after wearing this. Search for “moisture-wicking” apparel. Add a thicker, more insulating garment over your thin one, like a sweatshirt, jacket, or fleece, to keep you warm.
Cover exposed body parts – If it’s chilly outside, your hands, feet, toes, ears, and tip of your nose are most susceptible to getting very cold and potentially getting frostbite. Your body prioritizes warming your core above warming your extremities in order to conserve energy Cover up with a hat, gloves, face mask, scarf, or goggles, depending on how chilly it is, to expose less skin. Make sure to wear warm socks, but depending on the style of shoes you’re wearing, make sure they’re also comfy. (If wearing sneakers as opposed to shoes or ski boots, which can accommodate wool or thick cotton socks, you’ll require thinner socks.)Try wearing thin glove liners under thicker gloves if your hands become especially chilly.
Remember to moisturize your skin regularly in the winter to keep moisture locked in and avoid dryness and capping Even though some wintertime sunshine can be quite healthy, too much of it can still burn your skin. If you plan to spend a lot of time outside, especially if you will be near snow, which can reflect sunlight — as you might if you are skiing or snowboarding – use sunscreen. Most physicians advise applying lip balm with sunscreen and wearing clothing with a minimum of 30 SPF when outdoors for more than 20 to 30 minutes.
When Is It Too Cold?
What degree of cold is too much for outdoor exercise? The optimal range of temperatures for exercising outside in the winter is between the 30s and 50s F. Nevertheless, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, “exercise can be done safely in most cold-weather locations without sustaining cold-weather injuries…At wind-chill temperatures below -27 degrees C, exercisers should be monitored more closely. The wind-chill temperature index can be used to estimate the relative risk of frostbite (-18 degrees F)
In other words, it appears safe for the majority of adults to exercise in extremely cold temperatures, even when the temperature drops into the single digits Fahrenheit. However, as the temperature dips below the 30s, it’s vital to dress appropriately and watch out for any indicators of a cold-related injury (such as numbness, clumsiness, and very red, cold skin) When the wind speed exceeds 20 mph and the temperature falls below 5 degrees Fahrenheit, be cautious to prevent frostbite as the risk of cold-related injuries increases.
Risks and Negative Effects
Exercise in cold weather raises the risk of hypothermia, which is a low body temperature. It’s imperative to address this problem carefully because it can harm the skin and other tissues If you have any symptoms of hypothermia, such as:
redness/purple skin, acute shivering, and numbness/tingling combined with great weariness speech that is slurred coordination issues Exercise-related adverse effects are more likely to occur in those who already have a health issue, such as asthma or a heart ailment when exercising outside in the cold. If you have a history of breathing issues, chest aches, etc., be careful not to push yourself too hard.
How to Get the Most Out of Cold Weather
The majority of these advantages depend on a temperature sweet spot or prudent cold-weather preparation. It’s crucial to think about other weather-related factors in order to be safe and benefit from the cold For instance, ensuring that your home has the ideal humidity level throughout the winter months will help to maximize the benefits of the cooler indoor climate. You can optimize and enhance the sleep, stress, and mood of your family by installing temperature and humidity sensors in each bedroom You should also try to gradually expose yourself to colder by going for quick walks outside so that your body can adjust to the changing weather on its own. Lastly, locate the sun! Keep an eye on the daylight hours to be sure you’re getting enough natural vitamin D, and UV exposure in real-time with the AcuRite Atlas®. Although the cold isn’t directly to blame for SAD, lower temperatures sometimes result in less sun exposure, so it’s crucial to combine the advantages of cold weather with the advantages of sunshine.
Advice on How to Stay Safe in the Cold
We cannot dismiss the possible risks of winter even though this article focuses on the advantages of cold weather. To help you get ready for the cold, consider the following advice: Plan for the worst while hoping for the bestSpend sometime this winter preparing your house, your car, and yourself. Watch your home weather station, prepare an emergency kit for your car, and make sure you’ve dressed appropriately before leaving. Although it seems easy, a little planning goes a long way Realize Your Limits Make careful to keep your exposure to the cold to a minimum if you suffer from heart disease, sensitive skin, or any other medical concerns. While the cold has many positive health effects.
It’s advantageous to exercise in the cold because it makes your body work harder to maintain equilibrium (or balance). Your body has to work harder to maintain body heat in cooler environments, requiring energy expenditure while providing some metabolic benefits Wintertime exercise outdoors has benefits for your metabolism, fat-burning, mood, endurance, heart health, and sleep Even when the temperature is in the single digits, it is usually safe to exercise outside as long as you dress in layers, moisture-wicking apparel, gloves, thick socks, and a cap When exercising in the cold, stop if you get severe tingling, numbness, or other hypothermia-related symptoms. Be sure to eat and drink as well.