Now that the weather is getting colder and colder by day, you’re probably already planning how you’ll hibernate in the gym all winter long. Working out in cold weather sounds like such a bad idea… but is it?
There are a few recent studies – some still under research – which indicate that working out in cold weather actually has some pretty amazing benefits on your health. So if you enjoy working out outside, there might still be hope you can do it and double the benefits.
Before we get started, I want to highlight that things such appropriate equipment, moderation and taking into consideration different health conditions are critical to not damage your health.
Lose weight faster
If your goal is to lose weight and get that “summer body” as fast as possible, you’re in luck! The cold weather might help.
Related: How to Trick Yourself Into Working Out
According to a study developed by Cell Metabolism, shivering burns fat. A “quick” 10-15 minutes session of shivering is said to burn as many calories as a one hour of moderate workout. According to the study, this works for temperatures between 4 and 15 degrees C.
While you’re working out, your body tries to keep a normal temperature through sweating.
Since you’ll be already in quite a chilly environment, your body won’t have to focus so much on adjusting your body temperature, says this study. Free of the sweating issue, your body can focus on something else, and that something else seems to be increased performance for your muscles.
Improved mental health
A small study from 2004 indicates that swimming in cold water can improve things such as fatigue, negative mindset and tension.
After four months throughout the research, subjects reported that they felt less stressed, tensed and they were happier overall. Half of the subjects were diagnosed with one of the
We already know that working out helps improving mental health but apparently working out in cold environments, such as swimming in cold water also helps.
Get some vitamin D
Even though it’s freaking freezing, it doesn’t mean the sun is not present.
While the UV index is fairly low and the sun exposure risks are quite minimal, the UV rays still go through the clouds, which can help you get some of the
Related: Unexpected Ways You’re Getting Sun Exposure
During winter, the sunlight is already very limited, which usually makes us less energetic. Getting that vitamin D is more than welcomed. Please remember you still have to use SPF (yes, even during winter) if your skin is exposed for more than 15 minutes or so.
Reduce risk of disease
According to the “shivering study” mentioned above, our bodies burn the “bad fat” and turns it in “brown fat”.
It might not sound too flattering, but the “brown fat” is actually the good guy. The study showed that this type of fast helped reduce risk of diabetes and obesity on animals.
Even if the tests are showing good results on animals so far, it’s highly likely that these benefits could apply to the human body as well.
Last but not least
There are promising studies and results that indicate that working out in cold weather can be beneficial. But please don’t let yourself carried away by these preliminary results.
Further research can prove that the benefits are not so good for us in the end. So before starting to work out in cold like a maniac, please go see your GP and ask him about this. He knows your health history, so he’s the best to advise you and to tell you the risks as well and if it would be safe for you to try it or not. Don’t believe the studies and articles right away, check with your doctor too.
Related: How to Avoid Catching a Cold or Flu
One of the major risks of working out in cold weather is lung trauma. So special equipment is required to make sure you will actually get the health benefits and not the drawbacks.
Have you ever tried working out in cold weather? How was it for you? Please let me know in the comments!
I have a problem with cold, thick air. In the winter, the air gets too thick that I have problems with my throat and sinus.Is there any way exercise can help with this problem?
Hi! While I was researching for the article, the studies did not mention anything about such issues, only to make sure to protect your body with appropriate clothing and cover your mouth, to prevent any damage. The safest way to find a good answer is to ask a doctor, preferably one who’s familiar with your conditions.
i do prefer cooler weather for working out. Here in georgia, its usually too hot to do much
I prefer the cold over the hot weather every time. This is certainly motivation to get outside and move more now that the weather is getting crisper.
I didn’t realize a lot of these tips! I joined a new gym this fall so I’m trying to keep prioritizing fitness as we enter the holidays!
I could work out in cold weather all day long. Would absolutely prefer this over the blistering heat we get in Houston. Thanks for sharing this great article!
You had me at 10 minutes of a shivering workout gives the same as a hour workout. Now a quick morning run is looking way more plausible.
I didn’t think you would still get much Vitamin D but that is good to know! I plan to work out more this winter.
I’ve worked out in the extreme heat and in the extreme cold and both are not fun! But I didn’t know there were benefits to the cold weather!
I had no idea about this! However, I’m not sure how many outside workouts I will be doing this cold season!
Good tips! I keep my stationary bike in my garage which stays very cold during the winter months. I’ll have to get out there and ride it and not just wait to use the machine in the warm months. Thanks for these tips!
I live in Las Vegas, so anything below 65 degrees is cold to me! I’m a runner and run outside all year long. I love winter runs. I always feel so refreshed. Knowing these benefits is great motivation!
These tips are fantastic! I have a really hard time finding the motivation to exercise during cold weather. Learning these health benefits is super encouraging and motivating! Thanks.
Glad you find them motivating! Please don’t forget to double check with your doctor for any further questions.