Outdoor Winter Workouts: A Must-Do, or An Activity to Avoid?

Benefits of a winter workout

Is it good to exercise out in the cold during winter?

Although some people argue that spending too much time in the cold can make you sick, most exercise experts argue that there are actually many benefits to working out when it’s chilly outside. Similar to how doing yoga in a heated room is good for your body, so is going for a run in the cold. Here are just a few of the benefits of exercising outdoors this winter:

Increased fat burn.

You may burn more calories working out in the cold is that your body has to work harder to raise its temperature, and since there is a low risk of overheating you can often work out longer and harder. Working out in cold temperatures may also aid in turning white fat into "brown fat"—the type of fat which helps your body burn more calories and regulate temperature. The most extreme (and probably least pleasant) way cold weather can contribute to fat burn is a simple one; shivering. Shivering can double, or even triple calorie burn.

Endurance training.

Because your heart has to work harder to circulate blood in the cold weather, exercising in the cold strengthens your heart. Working out in the cold also strengthens your lungs and circulatory system as a whole. With that being said, people who suffer from heart problems should be careful working out in extreme temperatures due to the extra strain.

Mood improvement.

When it’s gloomy outside it can take a hard tole on our mood. Getting outdoors to exercise can help you avoid getting SAD (seasonal affective disorder), and even though the sun may be less visible in the winter it still provides a dose of much needed Vitamin D. Exercising also releases endorphins that can help boost your spirits when it's feeling like spring will never come. 

Mental toughness.

While this one may be a bit less inspiring, exercising outdoors when it looks less inviting is important for our mental endurance. Oftentimes the hardest part of working out is getting out there in the first place. If you can go outside and take a run when it’s 40 degrees, what's going to stop you when it’s sunny and 75?

There are countless benefits to regular exercise. Consistency in your workout regimen can be hard, however staying physically active during the winter is the key to maintaining your mood and energy levels despite the dreary weather.

Uqora blogger Alexandra Rank admits that she doesn't have a whole lot to complain about when it comes to enduring the cold weather this winter, as a Southern California dweller. But she grew up in Northern California where there was oftentimes snow in the winter and weeks on end of rain and knows how hard it can be to stay active when the weather outside isn’t too inviting.