This winter, don’t let the cold keep you from spending time outdoors. For those who can brave chilly temps, exercising outdoors in the winter has tons of benefits that will not only keep you in shape, but also keep you healthy. Read on to discover the five reasons why you should be working out outside this winter.
Spice Things Up
If you have exercised indoors every day this winter, you’re probably getting tired of the treadmill. To shake up your exercise routine while getting a killer workout, try a new winter sport. Winter sports, including downhill skiing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, are amazing workouts that work every muscle in the body, burning upwards of 450 calories per hour. If you’re feeling ambitious you could even build a bobsled track in your backyard using access lift equipment, which will do the heavy lifting for you. If you only have time for a quick workout, simply shoveling snow or even making a snowman will help you torch calories.
The Fresh Air Will Do You Good
In order to trap warm air indoors and stay cozy, it’s unusual for people to open their home’s windows for long during winter months. While it may keep the indoor temps toasty, it can also cause stuffy, uncirculated and oftentimes germ-infested air, which can lead to winter illnesses. Exercising outdoors will give you a breath of fresh air and help boost your immunity.
You’ll Soak up Vitamin D
During the cold months of winter we tend to stay indoors more to keep warm. However, this decreases the amount of vitamin D that can be harnessed from the sun, which is highly important for maintaining a healthy blood pressure and strong bones. To get the recommended amount of vitamin D, you simply need to spend 10 minutes daily in the sun. Taking your dog for a morning walk, having a quick snowball fight or even shoveling your driveway or sidewalk is all it takes to help stay healthy.
You’ll Burn More Calories
Studies show that when you exercise in cold weather you burn more calories than exercising in a controlled, indoor temperature environment. Due to the chilly winter temperatures, your body has to work hard to keep its internal temperature at its normal level, igniting calorie burn. Also, in efforts to stay warm, your muscles can twitch or you may even end up shivering (before you get into your workout, of course) which helps you burn calories as well.
Now, It’s Safer Than Ever
Due to advances in technology it’s never been safer to exercise outdoors in the winter. Whatever activity you choose, there is highly technical, highly insulated clothing to keep you warm, as well as reflective gear to keep you safe if you’re exercising on public roads. Also, if you’re a runner or dog-walker who might be subjected to icy terrain, you can purchase spikes to attach to the bottom of your boots to add extra traction.
Though recent polar-vortex temperatures may have kept you indoors, with temps heating up it’s time to get outside. With so many winter activities to keep you entertained and athletic for the rest of the season, there’s no reason not to exercise outside this winter. As with every workout, be prepared to stay safe.