Baby it’s cold outside
With only a few weeks left in the year, the mercury is dropping. And not like it’s hot. With temperatures hovering around 5 degrees these days, it’s getting harder and harder to ditch the duvet and head outside. While it may seem like an impossible feat to venture out into the near arctic temperatures, there may actually be some health benefits to braving the cold.
Once you’ve geared yourself up and stepped outside for your chilly morning run, you’ll definitely start to shiver a bit. And while it may be a bit uncomfortable, it’s actually doing great things inside your body. When your body is subjected to cooler temperatures, shivering transforms unwanted white fat that stores energy from food into brown fat, which burns energy to keep you warm. As it burns energy, it also burns extra calories, helping to make your workout more effective.
Sound too good to be true? Well, there is a catch. Exposure to the cold does cause the blood vessels to shrink, which leads to increased blood pressure and heart rate. This means you should be careful if you’re not in optimal health. You may also notice a decrease in performance when temperatures drop below 4 degrees, as your joins will feel stiffer and muscles will be harder to warm up.
Want to take advantage of that extra calorie burn? We can’t blame you! But just make sure you:
- Warm up- Do some light stretching and calisthenics before you dive into your workout. Jumping jacks, burpees, anything goes. This ensures your heart gets blood pumping to your muscles so you don’t strain them or injure your joints.
- Heads, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes (!)– Even though you’ll get warm as you move, you have to remember to layer, layer, layer. Remember, you can always remove something as you heat up. Top everything off with a windproof and waterproof layer, and take extra care with your hands, feet and ears. Because nobody wants frostbite.
- Get a grip- As the temperatures fall, paths and roads can become slick with ice. To avoid having a comic (and likely painful) fall, make sure the treads on your shoes are in good shape. Taking a slightly slower pace if running, as your sense of balance will be a bit off.