Running in cold weather can be challenging. The temperature drops and the wind picks up, making running a chore. But did you know that running in cold weather has health benefits?
Cold weather can affect the body differently depending on whether or not we wear clothing. If you run outside without proper gear, you might experience chills, shivers, and even hypothermia.
Running in cold weather can improve your cardiovascular system, boost your metabolism, and increase your endurance. These are some of the reasons why you should consider running in cold weather.
Health Benefits of Running In Cold weather
1. The Ideal Weather
Running in cold weather is great for your health. The reason is simple: when it’s cold outside, we tend to stay inside where it’s warm. We’re not out running in the snow or ice, so our bodies aren’t exposed to the elements.
When we run indoors, we sweat and lose heat through our skin. This means our body temperature drops, which makes us feel warmer and more comfortable.
This is especially true during the winter months when we spend most of our time indoors. So, if you live somewhere cold, consider running outdoors during the winter months.
If you live somewhere hot, however, running outdoors isn’t recommended because you risk overheating. Instead, try running in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler.
2. Promotes Healthy Heart
Running in cold weather is great for your heart! Research shows that running in cold temperatures increases blood flow to the heart, which helps keep it healthy.
3. Burns Calories
Running in cold weather burns calories faster than running in warm weather. This is because when you run in cold temperatures, your body uses energy to keep itself warm. So, when you’re running in cold weather, you use more energy than when you’re running in warmer temperatures.
This means that running in colder conditions burns more calories than running in warmer conditions.
But there’s another benefit to running in cold weather. Your muscles work harder to keep you warm, so you burn more fat during exercise.
That’s why running in cold weather helps you lose weight.
4. Boosts Metabolism
When you run in cold weather, your body works harder to generate warmth. As a result, your metabolism speeds up.
Your metabolism is your body’s rate at which it breaks down food into usable energy. When you run in cold temperatures (or any other form of physical activity), your body generates more energy than usual.
So, by running in cold weather, your metabolism will speed up. You’ll have more energy throughout the day, and this will help you maintain a healthier diet.
5. Improves Endurance
Running in cold weather improves your endurance. It does this by increasing your body temperature.
As your body heats up, it releases adrenaline and cortisol hormones, which make you stronger. Adrenaline gives you an extra burst of energy, while cortisol boosts your immune system.
You’ll also be able to hold onto more oxygen as your lungs fill with air. That means you won’t need to breathe as often.
These benefits mean that running in cold weather can actually improve your performance.
6. Increases Blood Flow
One way that running in cold weather affects your body is by improving circulation.
As you run, your feet pump blood through your legs and back to your heart. But when you run in cold weather (especially in the wintertime), your body pumps less blood through your veins.
So, your blood doesn’t circulate as well. This means your blood pressure stays lower, and you don’t get tired as quickly.
This causes your blood vessels to constrict, which reduces their ability to carry blood. As a result, you may experience numbness or tingling in your hands and feet.
To prevent these symptoms from occurring, wear gloves and socks made of wool. These materials retain moisture, making them effective insulators.
7. Protects Against Illnesses
Another reason running in cold weather is beneficial is that it protects against illnesses.
When you run in colder temperatures, your body produces more white blood cells, which fight off infections.
In addition, your body releases chemicals called cytokines, which reduce inflammation. Inflammation is linked to many diseases, including arthritis, cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
8. Reduces Risk Of Injury
Running in cold weather reduces the risk of injury. This is because your joints are better protected from extreme heat.
The increased circulation that occurs when you run in cold conditions keeps your skin moist, preventing chilblains and frostbite.
Also, your body has more energy available to protect your joints.
9. Makes You More Comfortable
Finally, running in cold weather makes you feel more comfortable.
Because your body is warmed up, you won’t overheat. And if you do start feeling hot, you’ll be able to cool yourself down by drinking plenty of fluids.
Running in cold weather also helps you stay motivated. Because you’re working harder, you’ll want to continue exercising.
And since you’re staying warm, you’ll be able to avoid getting sick.
Tips for Running in cold weather
If you’d like to try out some cold weather running, here’s what you should know:
1. Choose A Route With Few Obstacles.
Avoid roads where there are lots of cars, pedestrians, or other obstacles. If you must run on busy streets, choose a route that takes you away from traffic.
2. Wear Appropriate Clothing.
Warm layers are best for running in cold weather. Wear clothes that keep you dry and insulated.
For example, you could wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants, hat, mittens, and a jacket.
3. Add Insulation To Your Layers.
Insulate your clothing with a layer of fleece or synthetic insulation. Wool is an excellent choice for this purpose.
4. Keep Your Feet Warm.
You can use two methods to keep your feet warm while running in cold weather. The first is to wrap your feet in plastic bags before putting on shoes.
The second method is to put on socks made of wool.
5. Make Sure Your Shoes Are Covered.
Your shoes will need to have adequate ventilation to allow air to flow freely around your toes.
Use a pair of lightweight, waterproof sneakers.
In conclusion, if you live somewhere where winter temperatures drop below freezing, you may have heard that running outdoors during colder months isn’t always ideal. But did you know that running outside when it’s cold actually has many health benefits? Running in cold weather helps increase blood flow, which means better circulation and improved endurance. Cold weather also makes us feel warmer than normal, which keeps our core temperature down. And finally, running in cold weather can improve your mood, because it increases serotonin levels in your brain. So go ahead and lace up your boots and hit the trails—you won’t regret it!
Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.