BRRRR.....Too cold to exercise outdoors?
I know, I know, I know. It's much warmer and more comfortable to stay in bed on these cold winter days. Just look at bears; they have the right idea hibernating right? Now that you mention it, just look at the shape of a bear.......hmmmm......maybe hibernating isn't the right idea after all.
In fact there are massive benefits to ramping up your cold weather workouts such as -
- BURN MORE CALORIES - Yes that's right, the same workout done in cold weather will burn more calories that doing it in warm weather. Your body has to work harder to regulate it's core temperature thereby making your body burn more calories and fat to produce the energy required to do your workout.
- INCREASE YOUR ENDURANCE AND PERFORMANCE - The mere fact your body has to work harder in colder weather means you are challenging your heart, lungs and circulatory system to pump blood around the body thereby increasing it's capacity and making these systems stronger.
- REDUCES CORTISOL LEVELS - This is one of the new big things in weight loss research. When we are overstressed, either emotionally or physically, for extended periods of time, the hormone cortisol is elevated and this hormone has a direct influence to our processing of fat, protein and carboydrates. Elevated cortisol levels may be associated with weight gain, particularly visceral fat. Appropriate exercise can help you reduce your stress levels.
- MAKES YOU FEEL HAPPIER - The colder the weather, the harder our body works to stay warm and this also elevates your "feel good" endorphins which will make you feel happier.
- REDUCE THE "SAD" (SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER) - During the colder shorter days if we stay inside too much during the day we miss out on exposing ourselves to the sunshine and other stimulating elements which helps to invigorate and absorb essential vitamin D (from the sun). This exposure can help relieve depression.
The best way to make to the most of your training in winter (or at anytime really) is to dress in layers. That way you can peel them off as you get warmer and don't forget to make sure you stay hydrated. Just because you're not thirsty doesn't mean you don't need water.
All in all I can't think why you might want to stay in bed instead of jumping up and starting the day with a cracking, endorphin fix, cortisol lowering, calorie burning, invigorating burst of outdoor training.