If you think winter has hindered your ability to exercise outdoors — think again. You may be surprised to find out there are definite health benefits to working out in the cold.
Can cold weather improve your health?
Scientists have always known that warm blooded animals live longer in the cold due to chemical reactions. For example, studies have shown that by lowering the core body temperature of mice, their lifespan is increased by 20 percent. So, does that mean we should venture out into the cold more often? Read on to find out!
Health Benefits of Working Out in the Cold
1. Cold weather burns more fat
The human body is remarkable! It has the ability to adapt to both cold and warm temperatures during exercise. And recently, science has discovered that exercising in the cold temperatures may burn more fat. In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers found that vigorous exercise, in particular, outside during the winter may burn more fat than exercising indoors.
Another study that looked at Scandinavian winter-swimming culture, which combines brief dips in cold water followed by hot saunas. The researchers found that, when exposed to cold temperatures, there was an increased activation of brown fat tissue.
Brown fat is a cross between muscle and white fat. Instead of storing excess glucose like white fat does, brown fat burns it up. But here’s the kicker — it only burns fat when the body gets too cold. At one time it was thought that only babies had brown fat. But now scientists know that adults have brown fat as well. Exercising in cold weather seems to transform white fat, specifically in the belly and thigh, into calorie-burning brown fat.
2. Cold weather increases your endurance
You might think you’d get winded faster working out in winter. But in reality, your body finds it easier to work out in the cold. One of the main reasons is heart rate. Your heart has to work harder to sustain the same intensity when it’s hot outside compared with when it’s cold.
Let’s say you’re going for a jog on a hot summer day. Your body has to send blood to the skin to be cooled by evaporation. This means to maintain the right amount of blood needed for the body to function effectively, your heart rate must go up. But when it’s cold out the opposite is true. Your heart doesn’t have to work as hard. You’ll sweat less and expend less energy, which increases your endurance.
3. Cold weather improves your mood
If you generally feel a little blue during the winter months, you probably prefer hibernating to exercising. But scheduling 30 to 60 minutes a day to move your body will go a long way into making you feel better. Exercise is a great mood-booster any time of the year and even more so during the cold winter.
You’ve likely heard of SAD, which stands for seasonal affective disorder. It generally hits people during the fall and winter months when days get shorter and nights get colder. It’s the time of year when many begin to feel sluggish and more tired, which may lead to oversleeping and overeating.
Exercise is great for your mental health and working out in the cold is a great way to manage SAD. Working out releases feel-good chemicals like serotonin and endorphins. Plus, getting outside in sunlight during the winter can help reduce your risk of developing SAD.
4. Cold weather offers new ways to exercise
Let’s face it, going to the gym or working out at home can get a little boring at times. But working out outside in the cold can offer new possibilities. With winter comes activities you can’t experience in the warmer months. So why not give a new winter activity a try, like…
- Cross country skiing
- Downhill skiing or snowboarding
- Ice skating
- Even sledding!
Boost your energy with Chai Bliss
If you need a pre-workout energy boost to get motivated to head out into the cold, how about indulging in a cup of Chai Bliss? This delicious spiced superfood elixir increases your energy with no stimulant crash. Plus, you’ll experience mental clarity when you need it the most — yet still feel calm. *
Chai Bliss is loaded with superfoods and antioxidants that can help nourish your mind and body, including:
- A bend of six spices loaded with antioxidants.*
- Lion’s Mane mushrooms, to help benefit your brain’s cognitive function and focus.*
- L-Theanine from green tea, to promote mental focus, and maintain alertness and accuracy.*
- Zinc, to support immunity, cognition, and mood.*
- Astragalus, to improve immunity and energy.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.