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Monday, December 12, 2016

Benefits of Cold Weather Exercise

Baby it's cold outside... I simply must go... get a workout in! Yup, working out in the cold weather can be an invigorating experience with loads of health benefits.

We are fortunate in Central Texas where our winter weather is not too extreme. So even though the temps dip down, it is often still sunny with clear skies. Perfect weather for a run, outdoor obstacle course, or paddling on one of our local lakes.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of exercising in the cold:

  • Burning more calories.
    Your body is not only burning calories from your workout itself, but also from the energy used in regulating your temperature to keep you warm. Double the burn. It's a win/win. 
  • Strengthening your heart.
    Just as your muscles and body work hard to keep you warm in the cold, your heart has to work equally hard to keep the blood pumping. Cold weather workouts can really boost your cardiovascular strength. 
  • Keeping you hydrated.
    Contrary to login, you can still sweat a great deal while outside in the cold weather. As your body loses this valuable moisture, your thirst buds kick in and you want a drink. So, if you sweat more, you take in more water, and drinking lots of water is always a good thing.
  • Conditioning your muscles.
    People tend to be more vigilant about warm-up exercises and stretching in cold weather more so than at other times of the year. Mentally you want to "warm up" when you go outside, no matter what your activity, so your body automatically craves a bit of motion in order to get blood flowing and help adjust to the temperature drop from being indoors. Warming up is a crucial part of any workout or sport, so if it becomes part of your routine during the winter, it will likely stick with you as the seasons change. Warming up keeps muscles limber and flexible and can help reduce the risk of tendonitis and sprains and strains.
Make sure to dress in several light, breathable layers when you head outside, and don't forget the sunscreen and a hat. The sun's strong rays can be just as damaging in the winter as they are in summertime.

Courtesy of The Huffington Post)

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