Some people love the feel of a brisk winter workout, while others use the cold as an excuse to stay indoors and remain snuggly warm. No matter which opinion you favor, it’s possible that you have some misconceptions about exercising in the cold. Here, we answer some common questions, in order to dispel any myths, and give you the low down on working out in winter.
- Does exercising in the cold make you more susceptible to illness? Actually, yes, it does. Because exercising, particularly running, in cold weather increases your stress hormones, your immune system is weakened, and you’re more likely to fall prey to an infection. Take heart! You can still exercise, as long as you pull back your intensity, dress in layers, and run for shorter periods of time.
- Is weight loss boosted by colder temperatures? Sadly, no. In fact, people tend to eat more in the winter, possibly because our evolutionary programming encourages us to conserve fat.
- If you’re sad and sleepy, is it winter’s fault? Some people do get depressed in winter, not because of the cold weather, but because of the lack of light. That’s actually why we tend to feel sleepy, too; less daylight means more melatonin, which makes us want to go to sleep.
- To stay warm, should you drink less water and more alcohol in the winter? Nice try, but no. While alcohol does increase body temperature quickly, the heat is only temporary, and mostly confined to the extremities, which makes it a bad choice when you’re working out. Then again, there are many reasons why alcohol could be a bad choice when involved in strenuous physical activity. As to water, it’s just as important in the winter as in the summer. Water helps protect our mucous membranes, which in turn helps protect us from illness. Your skin moisture and blood volume are also improved when you’re drinking water, which means less chapping, cracking, and opportunistic infection.
Whether you choose to get out in the cold, or stay in a climate controlled environment like the gym, exercise is extremely important to a well-balanced life, no matter the season. At our clinic, we work with our patients to help them live their best lives, and this means suggesting an exercise program that promotes overall wellness. To find out how we can help you find your path to optimal health, call for your free consultation today.