THE BENEFITS OF FRIGID FITNESS
With temperatures dropping, we hear it frequently: “I don’t have access to a gym” or “I don’t want to work out outdoors during the winter months.” We get it. The winter causes many to want to hibernate, which may make goals of becoming more active, reducing stress, or losing/maintaining weight more challenging. For those without gym memberships, avoiding the outdoors may lead to a sedentary lifestyle during the winter months. Heck, with less daylight and lower temperatures, just getting to the gym may seem much harder!
Even if you do have a gym membership, outdoor exercise is a wonderful option as it offers benefits for your mind, body, and wallet. And while it is possible to get an indoor workout even without a gym membership, here are some great reasons to reconsider embracing your frigid fitness.
1. YOU CAN BURN MORE CALORIES
In the cold, your body is working harder to regulate its temperature and to warm and humidify the air you breathe. This means that your metabolism increases and your body burns more calories during your workout.
2. IT CAN HELP FIGHT SAD (SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER)
Find yourself facing the winter blues? The cold stimulates your parasympathetic system, often dubbed the “relax and renew” system. These endorphins can trigger the release of dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters that improve the mood. Being outside during the daylight hours also helps combat SAD and depression via exposure to Vitamin D-producing sunshine.
If it is difficult to find daylight hours during the workweek for an outdoor workout, start on the weekends, or simply aim to take a stroll at lunch time a few days a week.
3. IT’S INVIGORATING AND MEDITATIVE
Being outdoors and in nature can help calm the mind, reducing anxiety and stress levels. Couple that with the endorphins from a workout, and you have a wonderful duo!
4. IT CAN BOOST IMMUNITY
We know that exercisers in general are less likely to get sick than their non-exercising counterparts. Bonus: with outdoor exercise comes better circulation and with better circulation comes an even stronger immune response. You can also skip the germ-loaded equipment at the gym when you work out outdoors!
So bundle up and embrace the cold — your mind, body, and wallet will thank you!
– KEELEY MEZZANCELLO, RD, LD, CSCS