© Getty Images

© Getty Images

Why winter weather is your best running ally

It might not be easy, but winter + exercise can be the perfect pair.

With the sun setting earlier and the thermometer taking a nose dive, you might find yourself feeling less motivated to put your sneakers on and head out for a daily jog. However, what you may not realize is that cold weather can actually help you be a better runner!

Cold weather makes running easier

OK, so perhaps the initial motivation to hit the sidewalk might be harder to muster on those frosty mid-winter mornings than in the balmy days of summer. However running is a great way to tolerate the chill factor, and you can expect considerably less heat stress on your body which, according to exercise physiologist and author of The Marathon Method, Tom Holland, “makes it significantly easier to run.”

It may have positive health effects that will stick with you long after the run

It’s a little known fact, but not all body fat is created equal. Put simply, there is white fat, which is what we think of as the unhealthy stuff, and then there is brown fat, which actually burns calories. Some doctors are saying that exposing our bodies to cold temperatures could help turn our white fat to brown. Winter running won’t just help you in the moment, but could aid in changing your whole make-up so that even in your rest periods you’re more of a (white) fat-busting machine.

It trains your body to use oxygen more efficiently

Northern Arizona University researchers set out to see what effect chilly temperatures had on exercise, and discovered that regular cold weather training adds on average a whopping 29% to athletes’ regular running speed, as their bodies learn to use oxygen more efficiently.

Don't forget the sun

Just because it’s cold outside, or even cloudy, does not mean that the sun isn’t on you. This can, of course be a good thing, because you can get some much needed winter Vitamin D during a winter jog and help combat the effects of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). However, it’s important you take the same kind of precautions against the sun as you would in summer, covering up, wearing sun block (or a face cream with SPF protection) and moisturizing when you get back home.

Lace up those shoes and go hit the pavement this winter – just be careful for icy surfaces!

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