Do you ever struggle with pushing yourself to get outside and exercise, especially in the cold weather?
I dragged myself kicking and screaming…
As my sneakers pounded heavily with every step, I pushed myself to get my workout done.
The process of bundling up in every cold-weather garment I owned already exhausted me and the thought of being cold for my 30 minute cardio session was not the most appealing thought. Honestly, I wanted to go right back to snuggling under my warm covers and drinking my morning cup of java. It was cold outside and I felt lazy!
And, I am not alone!
Frosty weather is seemingly the time that most well-devoted fitness enthusiasts admit falling short on their exercise commitment.
Is it the cold weather?
The shorter amount of daylight?
Less than optimal conditions outside keeping you pent up indoors?
Regardless of the reason for the lack of activity, there are some health benefits to training in the cold weather that may just spark that fire within you to help you get past the uncomfortable zone.
Here are 5 reasons why it is cool to train in the cold —
- You burn more calories simply because your body is working harder in an environment it is not used to training in, your metabolism revs up and your body burns more calories and fat to produce energy for your workout. Now who doesn’t like that!
- By challenging yourself in the cold weather, you are strengthening your heart, lungs and circulatory system, thereby improving your overall health and improving your endurance performance.
- Working out in the winter can help fight SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Being outside and taking in more sun during the daylight hours helps keep your mind sharp and relieves depression. It also increases your body’s manufacturing of vitamin D.
- Cold weather can reduce inflammation. There’s a reason putting ice on an injury works. That drop in temperature reduces inflammation in a sprained ankle or sore knee. The theory works on a much grander scale, too — cold temperatures can reduce inflammation and pain all over.
- It’s invigorating, exciting and energizing. This is my personal favorite benefit of cold weather exercising. There’s nothing like experiencing the crispness of the outdoors and adding that rosy glow to your cheeks after an intense outdoor winter workout. Plus, there is something surreal about challenging your workout in a totally different way!
After I pushed myself to do just 5 minutes of cardio, I found that my body started to easily adapt and I found that I was gaining a sense of mental renewal and appreciation for pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
I was so proud of myself!
So, how can you get started?
Start with just 5 minutes. Commit to doing 5 minutes and then if you really do not want to be outside, go home. Call it a good workout and hit the indoors to go on with your day.
It is my bet that you will go well beyond 5 minutes. Once you get started and once you start to think about how long it took you to get dressed, I can almost guarantee that you will stick with a longer commitment and get your movement in for the day.
Getting started is the hardest part!
Getting outdoors creates a sense of wellness unlike exercising indoors, but the cold weather can stop you dead in your tracks — if you let it.
But, if you use cold weather exercising with the intent of all the health benefits that go with it, you may find that you actually look forward to getting outside and breathing in the crisp, refreshing, cool air.
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