Can you Benefit from Running Outside?

Have you ever heard of the saying; if you do things that are out of your comfort zone, it might be good for you?

When it is cold outside, most of us just hibernate indoors and exercising often gets put on the back burner until brighter and warmer days are upon us. Exercising during the colder months has some cool advantages, pun intended. So even if you do not enjoy the cold, let alone exercising in it, it might be something worth considering.

If you can find the strength within to drag yourself out of hibernation this winter, you will reap these three key benefits of sweating outside this winter.

Improve your mood

If you dread the winter and always feel down or depressed, you might have a slight case of SAD, which is short for seasonal affective disorder.

According to research published in Psychiatry, 20% of Americans find themselves suffering from severe to mild depression during the cold months. Daily exercise releases feel-good chemicals, which gives you a break from the daily stresses life throws at us and may, in fact, ease up the gloom that is put over the winter months.

Cold-weather exercise is proven to boost one’s mood. Your body works harder to stay warm and the harder your body works, the number of endorphins produced increases, leaving you with a greater sense of happiness following a colder workout. Plus, we can all use a little dose of vitamin D during the winter when the sun doesn’t stay out as long.

30-minutes of exercising outside a day could change your whole outlook on winter!

Burn more calories

Studies have shown that people expend five times more energy when shivering, compared to when they are resting. Did you know your body has to work even harder while exercising in the cold?

It not only has to work harder to regulate your core temperature among the colder elements, but be able to send blood flow to all the muscles that are doing the work!

“…You will burn 10 to 40 percent more calories in the cold than you would in more temperate temperatures,” says Jo Zimmerman, an instructor in the department of kinesiology at the University of Maryland and a longtime trainer.

Calories burned will vary from each person, but stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing the cold for some exercise can be an excellent morale booster, especially during the holiday season.

Boost immune system

Exercising outside means avoiding germs. Working out in a gym during the winter months calls for a right place to pick up a potential pathogen.

Despite what your grandma says or what people might have told you about catching a cold by actually being in the cold, it’s the germs that make you sick and you’re less likely to encounter them outside. Exercising outside during the winter months not only boost your immunity during the cold and flu season but drastically reduces your risks of actually catching a cold.

A few minutes a day can help prevent uncomplicated bacterial and viral infections, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers have found that regular exercise in the cold leads to a higher number of white blood cells, which fight infections

Exercise, in general, is crucial for our mind and bodies and there is no other way to feel and look better without it.

The only way to grow is to step out of our comfort zones and reap the benefits of doing the things that make us feel uncomfortable.  Now get out there and don’t let the cold keep you indoors this winter. Get outside and enjoy the benefits a winter workout has to offer.

For more information, click here to learn about Seasonal Affective Disorder.