08 Jun Why you need to embrace exercise in the cold
Winter is coming, winter in coming…wait, winter is here!
Even if you didn’t get the Game of Thrones reference we can all agree, winter has arrived and most of us don’t like it. Gone are the long summer days, hours at the beach and backyard barbies.
Winter is traditionally the time to rug up in your slippers, trackydacks and dressing gowns while watching too much television and eating hearty food – but why stick to tradition?
Why do we have to let unhealthy habits creep in during the colder months? It’s time to look at the reasons why we need to embrace cold weather and adapt our mindset to moving more.
Why Should We Exercise in the Cold?
Summer Regret and Wrong Motivations
Most times when we are sitting inside in the cold, we aren’t thinking of the future consequences. By the time summer comes around most people will look to try and reach their “summer” or “beach” body and generally feel guilty about their appearance.
There are two things wrong with this.
Firstly, we should never make our ideal body our key goal – we should all be transforming our mindset to wanting to achieve optimal health. We should be exercising to keep our bodies strong, lean and to add years to our life.
Secondly, by following such an up and down approach to looking after our body we could be causing further harm.
Accredited Exercise Physiologist Carly Ryan explains.
“Our winter exercise hibernation can cause long term effects on our health. We go for months being very sedentary which can have a knock on effect on our weight, mental health and also increase our chances of developing a chronic condition. We need people to understand that little and often is the way to go. Make a plan, give yourself a goal, share this with friends and just keep moving.”
We can burn more calories
Well, this is only moderately true, but it’s nice to have that in mind!
A researcher from the University of Utah, Wayne Askew, suggested that “the basal metabolic rate increases slightly in colder climates, and Dr. Askew said there might be a very small increase in calories burned from the warming of cold air by the lungs and from the rewarming of skin that has been exposed to the cold.”
Either way, the cold will help you body work that little bit harder to get itself warm – thus making it burn slightly more calories than usual.
Every little bit of movement helps
We need to look past the cold and instead focus on our bodies.
Even a 30 minute walk each day can have a massive positive impact on our overall health. Don’t believe us? Check out these reasons…
- Strengthens your heart which can help reduce your chances of heart disease
- Improve your cardiovascular health
- Strengthen your bones to reduce the chances of osteoporosis
- Controls your weight
- Reduces cholesterol
- Regulates your blood pressure
- Boosts your energy
- Helps you think clearer
- Controls your mental health
- Reduces your chances of developing cancer
- Makes you sleep better
- Improves your sex life
- Do we need to go on?
Boosting our stocks of Vitamin D
The other major thing we miss out on in winter is the sun.
It’s hiding behind grey clouds or we are hiding inside – either way – it creates a lack of Vitamin D.
Around 80-90% of our supply of Vitamin D comes from the sun but that can drastically reduce in the colder months. So think of exercise in the winter as an essential way to give your body the nutrients it needs.
Tips to Exercise Safely in the Cold
If you are going to exercise in the cold, let’s look at a few tips to keep you safe.
- Wear the right fabrics – the last thing you want is to work out in sweaty, damp clothes.
- Drink plenty of water – as it is cold, we forget that we need to keep hydrated, so make sure you remember to take a bottle of H20 where ever you go!
- Cover the head, finger and toes – the extremities of our bodies usually suffer the most during the cold so make sure you have the right head gear for you, gloves and some comfortable, warm socks.
- Avoid the storms – if the weather is wild and windy, for your own safely it might be best to workout inside.
- Know the warning signs – as with exercising on warmer weather, listen to your body and don’t push it to the limits.
- Warm up – warming up is an important factor in preparing our body for exercise and preventing injury, so allow a little extra time for your body to adjust and don’t forget to warm down at the end.