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Getting Ready For Cold Weather Exercise

Photographer: Elite Ziegelman

Crisp air, cool temperatures and inspiring colors are the perfect setting for a change of pace and offers great health benefits.

In addition to overcoming potential winter weight gain of 5-10 pounds, exercising outdoors in colder weather has numerous health benefits.

According to the American Heart Association, while the cold weather may deter some from outdoor physical activity, working out in the cold has several advantages over warmer weather workouts.

“There is no heat and humidity to deal with in colder weather. Winter’s chill might even make you feel awake and invigorated”, according to AHA.

“In the cold, your body can regulate its temperature a little better. This means you can often exercise farther or longer; therefore, you can potentially burn even more calories”, according to AHA.

Exercising in extreme temperatures, hot or cold, has shown the ability to enhance endurance and mental edge. Preparations for cold versus warm workouts differ. Both require proper nutrition and hydration.

However, in warmer weather, your body will “climatize,” or adapt to the heat, whereas your body does not do that for the cold, according to Dr. Jonathan Finnoff, medical director at the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center.


Add or remove layers as needed:

Dress in light breathable layers to stay dry and regulate your body temperature. This is much harder to do in warm weather which increases the risk of heat related illness.


Boost your Immune system:

Its been proven that exercise will help you fight off symptoms of a cold or flu but also reduce the probability of you catching that nasty bug. A good physical regimen keeps your immune system working harder and better prepared to fight off bacterial and viral infections.


Great cardiovascular workout:

Cold weather forces your body to work harder during exercise, and this also true of your cardiovascular system. Since the heart works harder to circulate blood around the body during cold weather exercise, these invigorating workouts help to give your heart a healthy spike in exercise intensity.


Enhances your mood:

Shorter days, not getting enough light, and the change of seratonin/melatonin levels will affect your mind/body balance.

Exercise can change your mood at any time, but it has a notable effect during fall/winter, by sending the “feel-good” hormones into high gear, and keeping seasonal affective disorder (SAD) at bay. Most people avoid the cold, but outdoor cold weather workouts are a great way to absorb sunlight during the shorter daylight months. The sunlight can also help with vitamin D intake.
Burn more calories

Cold weather workouts can be a supercharged version of your normal sweat session. Whatever workout you engage, the cold weather will increase your caloric burn. The lower temperatures make the body working harder to keep your core temperature regulated. As the body works to stay warm, the metabolism is boosted and your body burns more calories and fat.


Opportunity for variety:

Cold weather gives offers opportunities to try activities you may not have experienced before. Embrace it and try something new. Skiing, snowboarding, winter swimming and running are great options that provide fun and challenging workouts.

Movement Arts is inviting you to break out the layers and let’s get together on some calorie burning, mind/body boosting workouts this Fall and Winter!

*Those with medical conditions should check with their doctor to review any special precautions based on their condition or their medications.

Jason Daniels