Working Out in the Winter: Should You Do It?

James Fowler Physical TherapyHealth & Wellness, Running, Sports TherapyLeave a Comment

Surprise! You probably thought winter was coming to an end… and then “unexpectedly” New York City received 6 inches of snow after a 2 week streak of 50 degree+ temperatures. All around, runners were happily taking advantage of the warm weather. If you were not one of them, you were certainly dodging them on every city block. For those runners, the recent snow might have put a damper on your mood, but don’t be too discouraged. Did you know there were benefits to working out in cold(er) temperatures?

  1. Running in the cold can help improve your cardio.

According to Huffington Post when the temperature drops, your body works harder to regulate your body temperature. In order to do so, your heart rate increases, allowing for greater blood flow.

    2.  You burn MORE calories.

As mentioned, because of the cold temperatures, your heart works harder to improve circulation. At the same time, you burn “brown fat”. Brown fat, according to a recent study, burns calories “like a furnace”. The study explains that one form of brown fat activates when the body gets cold, working hard to regulate your body temperature. As it activates, it burns calories. A second form of it can be created from white fat through exercise. So the combination of cold and exercise will help you burn even more fat. Get moving!
     3.  It forces you to drink more water.

When is drinking more water ever a bad thing? Even though it is cold, you’re body is still producing sweat. However, the sweat evaporates at a much quicker rate, requiring you to drink more fluids. Regardless, you’ll want to drink more water to balance out how hard your body is working to stay warm.

There are definitely things to be aware of in colder temperatures that are not a concern in warm temperatures. If the roads are icy, avoid running. You’ll only be increasing your chances for injury. Also, if the wind chill reaches the negative numbers, avoid working out outside. It can be more dangerous for your body than beneficial. According to Greatist, avoid rain and over dressing. When your body is soaked, whether it is water or sweat, the body has a hard time managing your body temperature. The water only draws heat away from your body. Remember, listen to your body! Please consult your doctor or physical therapist if you experience pain.

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