The health benefits of outdoor winter exercise
Temperatures have dropped, trees have lost their leaves and there’s a frost in the air. It can only mean one thing: winter is here. And while some of you may still be mourning the loss of summer, we’re here to show you the health benefits of winter exercise and playing outside in the cold.
Benefits of exercising outdoors in the winter
1. Burn more calories
Have you ever seen someone running outside in the winter and thought to yourself, “Nope.”? You might want to rethink that. Exercising outside in the cold actually helps you burn more calories. This is because your body has to work harder to regulate your core temperature — and that means you can feel better about that extra piece of whatever on Christmas Eve.
2. Get your daily dose of vitamin D
You’re probably familiar with vitamin D and its effects on your mood. Too little and you may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a depression related to the changing of the seasons. While vitamin D supplementation can help, getting outside is just as effective. Cold weather does not affect the critical nutrients supplied by natural sunlight.
3. Say goodbye to gym germs.
It’s no secret that gyms are a hotbed of germs. In fact, unless you’re cleaning off every machine and piece of equipment before and after you use it, bringing your own mat, washing with antibacterial soap in the shower immediately after working out and drying off with your own towel puts you at an increased risk for skin infections like athlete’s foot, candida and even MRSA. MRSA causes a variety of problems, including skin infections and pneumonia, which are resistant to antibiotics. When the cold or flu is going around, exercising outdoors is another ounce of prevention.
Fun ways to burn calories outdoors this winter
Need some inspiration to get outside and get active this winter? Here are a few ways for adults to play outside when the temperatures drop:
- Grab your snowboard for a shred sesh | Burns 429 calories per hour
- Hop on the lift for a day of downhill skiing | Burns 432 calories per hour
- No snow? No worries. Learn to ice skate instead | Burns 502 calories per hour
- Enjoy a full body workout with cross-country skiing | Burns 576 calories an hour
- Put your snowshoes on and go for a wintertime hike | Burns 576 calories per hour
What is your favorite outdoor wintertime activity? Let us know in the comments section.