Running in winter can be a cold and daunting activity, especially in Seattle where it could rain on you at any moment! But, running in winter can have several health benefits, it can also keep you motivated and active through the cold months.
Exercising in cold weather can be good for your heart, and can also help you to burn a few extra calories. As the body works harder to regulate its core temperature, you’ll burn more calories compared to working out indoors. Cold weather also makes the heart work harder to distribute blood throughout the body. For an unhealthy heart this process can exacerbate illness and injury. But a regular exerciser with cardiovascular endurance can make their heart muscle even stronger by running outdoors.
Cold weather exercise can also boost your mood and keep those endorphins going throughout the day. As the body works harder to stay warm, the amount of endorphins produced also increases, leaving you with a stronger sense of happiness and lightness following a workout in the cold. One study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology even found that people who exercised outdoors reported increased energy, decreased feelings of depression, and were more likely to repeat their workouts. Even though it is Winter, the extra sun exposure you get from being outside contributes to your daily dose of vitamin D as well.
In spite of all the benefits outdoor exercise in the winter can be risky, so be sure think about safety as well. Have a set of keys, a credit card and your cell phone in case of an emergency. Icy roads and harsh conditions are factors that can cause an injury from loss of footing. Also, if you must run alone wear reflective clothing and stay close to urban areas. If an injury does occur, it might be a good idea to check in with your physical therapist. They can set you on the road to recovery and get you back out enjoying the weather before you know it!
Hall, Alena. “7 Big Benefits Of Exercising Outside This Winter.” The Huffington Post 11 Dec. 2014. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.