After a balmy holiday season, cold weather has finally hit Atlanta. Most people will bid farewell to sunny outdoor workouts and resign themselves to several months inside a stuffy gym. But you’re not most people. We’ve already told you how to safely work out in winter conditions, but why should you bother? We’re glad you asked…
You’ll burn more calories.
Your body has to work harder to maintain its 98.6-degree core temperature when it’s cold out. Harder work equals more calories burned — up to a maximum of 40 percent more during high-intensity athletic endeavors, according to University of Maryland’s Jo Zimmerman (though normally much less than that). In frigid temps, your heart also has to kick it up a notch to do its job. If you’ve got a good level of cardiovascular conditioning, exercising outside in the winter can help make your heart even stronger.
You’ll feel happier.
Exercise and sunshine are natural mood boosters. Outdoor workouts hit you with a bucket full of happiness in the form of Vitamin D, fresh air, and endorphins. So whether the short, dark days are bringing you down or you’re dealing with everyday stress and tension, you’re virtually guaranteed to feel at least a bit better after throwing down a few burpees in the crisp, invigorating January air. There’s a reason many marathons are held in the fall — nobody wants to run in thick, humid air. Briskness for the win!
You’ll be less likely to get sick.
Despite what your grandma warned you about, colds are caused not by the cold but by viruses… aka that girl at the crowded gym who coughed on her hand then touched the locker room door or the 20 people a day grabbing the elliptical handles during cold and flu season. Walking up after one of these folks and unknowingly grabbing the petri dish of disease that is the coughed-upon kettlebell… well, that’s a fast track to cold town. Head to the great outdoors where there’s more room to move. Go for a run, sprint through some body-weight exercises, do something!
You'll be more efficient with your time.
What's the most common reason people don't workout? They "don't have time." Well, that's not surprising when you consider that up to 55% of the time people spend in the gym is on non-exercise related activities - chatting with friends, updating facebook, untangling headphones, etc. When you take the workout outdoors, especially when it's cold, you're far less likely to squander your time on "non-exercise" activities. It's only cold if you're not moving.