The most challenging part of running in cold weather is getting motivated to get out there and run. However, when you realize just how beneficial cold weather running can be for your body and improving your running performance, you may be eagerly awaiting your next cold weather run.
1. Burn Unwanted Body Fat
Our bodies are comprised of various types of fat including brown fat and white fat. In recent studies scientists have determined that brown fat is a more desirable fat than white fat. When brown fat is stimulated it burns calories and lean people tend to have more brown fat than overweight people. It is also now thought to be more like muscle than fat.
Studies also show that brown fat is more active in colder temperatures, resulting in increased calorie burning. When brown fat is activated, it burns white fat and turns it into brown fat. So remind yourself the next time you are running in freezing cold temperatures that you are not only burning more calories but you are changing your body's fat composition too!
2. Strengthen Your Heart
Because blood vessels constrict to maintain core body heat, the heart needs to work harder to distribute blood to our extremities when running in cold weather. This is one of the reasons why running in the winter feels harder.
For this reason don't expect to achieve faster times during the colder months. However, if you do train in cold weather, get ready for faster times when it gets warmer. Training in cold temperatures will result in better performances when conditions are warmer.
3. Feel Happier
During the cold winter months, you can eliminate the risk of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) by staying active and running outside regularly. Exposing yourself to the sun will also help you increase Vitamin D levels so you feel happier all year around.
Try to make the most of the short daylight hours by squeezing in lunchtime runs when possible and weekend runs in the daylight.
4. Burn More Calories
When our body is exposed to cold temperatures, it burn calories just to stay warm and maintain body heat. So take advantage of the opportunity that the cold weather provides to burn more calories and go running!
5. Increase Your Metabolism
Cold weather running feels harder than running in warmer temperatures. This is because the body has to work harder just to stay warm. This requires the use of precious energy which is normally reserved for running. However, this cold weather training will increase your metabolic rate and result in more calorie burning. Say good-bye to those few extra pounds you have been trying to lose!
So what's not to love about running in cold weather? Just remember to use common sense if the temperatures get really cold. Stay hydrated, dress in layers and try to practice nose breathing to help regulate the temperature of the air before it goes to your lungs.
Read more about how to stay safe and comfortable during winter in these posts:
So how about you? Do you usually run outdoors in the colder months of the winter or do you opt for the treadmill instead? Will you be running in cold weather this winter?
We would love to hear about your winter training plans. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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