Fact or Myth: You Shouldn’t Exercise in the Cold

This is a MYTH.

Let’s bust the winter myth: you shouldn’t exercise in the cold.

Actually, it’s imperative to keep on track with your fitness program during the winter months if you want to decrease your odds of catching a cold. In fact, a recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that men and women who exercise regularly (even in the winter months) may cut their risk of contracting a bug by almost half, and that active individuals who do catch a cold don’t experience as debilitating of symptoms as more sedentary individuals do.

Running in winterYou Should Exercise in the Cold

A report in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise showed that in cold weather race times actually improved…and quicker paces burn more calories in much less time. Not only that, the faster your workout, the higher you endorphin levels. Endorphins are those feel-good hormones that help reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Just stepping outside amps up those endorphins! So get outside and exercise; just make sure you do it properly.

Rules for Exercising Outside

Layers are your friend when it comes to working out outside. You also want to stay just as hydrated in the winter months as the summer months. And because the cold weather makes your muscles less flexible and more prone to injury, it’s important to warm up with dynamic exercises before you workout. For instance, if you are going for a run outside, then do some high knee lifts in place. Here are some other tips for exercising outside:

  • If it’s dark out make sure drivers can see you! Wear bright, neon-colored clothes or reflective gear.
  • Keep those feet dry and wear appropriate shoes or shoe covers.
  • Change out of your sweaty, wet clothes ASAP. You don’t want the sweat to freeze and cause your body temperature to rapidly plummet.