We all know that exercise is important, but when faced with the choice between exercising out in the cold and staying wrapped up in a warm blanket, most of us choose the blanket every time.
However, after reading about the health benefits of getting outside in cold weather, you’ll have seven reasons to make the better choice next time.
Sunlight is the best way to get vitamin D
Even though vitamin D supplements are widely available, studies show that sun exposure is still the best way to get the vitamin D your body needs to function properly. A supplement may partially counteract reduced vitamin D levels in your body, but they should never replace sun exposure entirely.
Just 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure daily can provide health benefits for your immune system, bones, teeth, and muscles.
Cold weather burns more calories
Have you ever heard about the weight-loss trick that suggests you drink cold water to burn more calories? The same theory applies to winter weather. If you are cold, it takes more energy to keep your body warm, and that burns more calories.
Even if you don’t need to lose weight, exercising outdoors can boost your heart health by encouraging better blood circulation.
Outdoor exercise in cold weather is energizing
Something about a nip in the air is exciting and full of promise. The snap of cold weather is scientifically shown to boost your mood. According to a 2011 study published in Environmental Science & Technology, our bodies respond better to exercise conducted in outdoor environments.
The study participants preferred exercising outdoors; they were more likely to repeat the exercise if it was conducted outdoors versus exercise routines completed indoors, which bored them.
Cold weather is amazing for your heart
Cold weather makes your body work harder, which may not be healthy constantly, but for short bursts it will encourage your body to build stronger systems and muscles. Cold weather forces your heart to work harder to warm your blood and distribute it properly, which means you are strengthening your heart just by getting out in the cold.
Exercising in the cold has even greater heart benefits, and will help keep you warm, too!
Cold air helps you stay hydrated
Winter air is drying, which sounds like a bad thing, but it isn’t, as long as you drink plenty of fluids. Cold air has just enough drying snap that it should trigger your body’s impulse to drink more. However, even if you don’t feel thirsty when you go outside, it is important to make sure you drink often and regularly, particularly if you are engaging in a strenuous activity.
Exposure to cold weather gets easier over time
It seems incredibly bracing when you get out into the cold air for the first time each year, but by March, you will be out in shorts and hardly feel the cold at all, even when it is still 40 degrees. Your body gets used to cold over time, which makes it easier to be outdoors. Eventually, you will get all of the health benefits of cold exposure without even feeling shivery.
Cold weather doesn’t last forever
It’s fun to get outside and enjoy each season as it arrives. Embrace the temperature change and everything it brings, whether it is icicle noses and frozen toes in the winter or sweaty faces during the summer. Outdoor time is healthy for humans any time of year.
Venture outdoors this winter and get some exercise. You may be surprised at how energizing and enjoyable the cold weather can be. Just remember to wear layers and drink plenty of fluids!
—The Alternative Daily