Is Winter Winning The Exercise Program Battle?

Posted by Beth Hartman

Ok, it’s still Winter, even though metrological Spring is only a few days, (really 1 Day away, being March 1st.). And the question is, is winter winning out on keeping your exercise routines on the back burner?

Sure, it’s cold outside! The winter winds are blowing pretty strong, especially in the northeast where there is still a lot more darkness than daylight out there. These few things and maybe some others not mentioned can go a long way from keeping you away from the gym or running your favorite trail and keep you on the couch, under a comforter while you watch Netflix and scarf down a pizza.

Let's face it -- it's tough to find the motivation to exercise outside these days. During the work week, sometimes both legs of our daily commutes are completed in utter darkness. And while the weekend sunshine is appreciated, it doesn't do much to warm up our wintry surroundings. But before you throw in the towel and restrict yourself to the crowded, stuffy gym for the next few months, it may be worth giving the idea of an outdoor winter workout a second thought.

One thing this cold weather helps out with is burning more calories. As the body works harder to regulate its core temperature among the elements, you'll burn a few more calories during your wintry workout compared to one conducted indoors. While the calorie burn varies with each person's body mass and the extremity of the temperature, it can be a nice morale booster to get more out of your sweat session knowing that the cold temps are helping you to burn more as you run, jog, walk along on your exercise regimen.

Like any serious-minded person who embraces exercise as becoming part of their new, healthy, lifestyle. Working out means commitment to reaching a goal or set of goals, after all, why bother with the demands of getting up each day and pushing your body if you don’t have a set goal in mind. Reaching and surpassing those goals means tracking your progress. And a good way to do this is with a reliable fitness tracker. For our purposes, we like to recommend a heart rate monitor, with GPS capabilities. One that fits the overall requirements of tracking your progress is the Garmin Forerunner 735XT GPS Running Multisport Watch  The Garmin Forerunner 735XT is a GPS-enabled running watch with multi-sports features that will track not only your daily, weekly, monthly runs but on days when you do hit the indoor gym for strength training, the Forerunner 735 will track the energy you expend and your heart rate so you keep on track with performing to your up-most!

As you exercise outside and work up your pace, your body continues to sweat, but that sweat evaporates more quickly into the chilly, dry air, making it seem as though your body is losing less water. Drinking water before, during and after cold-weather workouts helps maintain peak performance, protects the body from injury and helps it to stay warm from start to finish. So don’t skimp on imbibing on the H2O!

Make note of this as well: Fat people have less than thin people. Older people have less than younger people. Men have less than younger women. What is it??
It is brown fat, actually brown in color, and its great appeal is that it burns calories like a furnace. A new study finds that one form of it, which is turned on when people get cold, sucks the fat out of the rest of the body to fuel itself. Another new study finds that a second form of brown fat can be created from ordinary white fat by exercise.

A new paper in The Journal of Clinical Investigation by Dr. Carpentier and his colleagues answers that question and more. By doing a different type of scan, which shows the metabolism of fat, the group reports that brown fat can burn ordinary fat and that glucose is not a major source of fuel for these cells. When the cells run out of their own small repositories of fat, they suck the fat out of the rest of the body.
In the study, the subjects — all men — were kept chilled, but not to the point of shivering, which itself burns calories. Their metabolic rates increased by 80 percent, all from the actions of a few ounces of cells. The brown fat also kept its subjects warm. The more brown fat a man, woman or young adult had, the colder they could get before they started to shiver.

Another benefit of exercising in the cold weather is that it makes the heart work harder to distribute blood throughout the body. For an unhealthy heart that struggles to manage the additional stress, this process can exacerbate illness and injury. But a regular exerciser with cardiovascular endurance can make their heart muscle even stronger with these cold-weather sessions, better preparing the body for more strenuous workouts in the future, not to mention other non-exercise stresses in life.

You're going to have a better outlook on your daily life by taking advantage of exercising outside in the colder weather. Cold-weather exercise has the ability to boost a person's mood, thanks to the lack of humidity (which creates that heavy air feeling in the summer months) and the stimulating aspect of the outdoor colder temperatures. As the body works harder to stay warm, the number of endorphins produced also increases, leaving you with a stronger sense of happiness and lightness following a workout in the cold.

So what do you say? Still feeling complacent about yourself as your laying on that couch, or are you having second thoughts and deciding to get off of it, put on some outdoor clothes with wicking ability and get out and giving your heart and cardio system a Run for its money? The choice is yours… But the staff, friends, and cohorts here at will be out there waiting for you to catch up.

See you on the trail!

Older Post Newer Post