Why You Should Get Outside This Winter
It’s important to exercise several times a week year-round, but once winter blows in, it can be hard to work up any motivation to step outside. Between dreading being cold and not wanting to pile on all of those extra layers, it can feel like a chore just to make a run to the grocery store, let alone go outside for exercise. Sure, it’s warm and cozy inside, but if you bundle up and head outdoors, you’ll save a bit on your heating bill and get in a great workout, too.
1. There are still multiple modes of transportation in the wintertime – the car isn’t your only option. You walk or bike throughout the rest of the year, and the winter doesn’t have to be any different. On a particularly mild day, pull on a few layers and walk to work or the store – you’ll get in your workout for the day while helping the environment. Every energy expert knows that one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by finding alternative modes of transportation.
2. Exercising in the winter helps you burn more calories because your body has to work extra hard to keep itself warm. Your heart will work harder, too, improving your endurance.
3. Studies have shown that a walk in nature can improve your mood and get rid of stress. During the winter, a lot of people suffer from some sort of seasonal depression. Plus, since the days are shorter and many of them are overcast, exposure to sunlight is low. Making a point of getting outside to soak in whatever sunlight is available is extremely important to revving up your mood. Plus, when you workout, your body produces endorphins, which make you feel happy.
4. So many people catch a cold or get infected with the flu during the winter because everyone’s cooped up together indoors without any fresh air circulating. By getting outside, you’ll reduce your chances of being exposed to those germs. Plus, exercise improves your immune system, which means that when you are exposed to viruses, your body will be better equipped to fight them off.
5. A lot of people have difficulty sleeping during the winter and seasonal depression can make people feel even more sluggish and exhausted. When you exercise and keep your energy level up throughout the day, you’ll have an easier time sleeping at night.
6. When you spend time outside, you improve your attention span and memory. Being in nature is akin to meditating, according to a University of Michigan study. Cognitive performance improves, whether it’s warm and sunny or overcast and chilly. Every age can benefit from a workout for the brain!
7. The wintertime is full of obstacles – but in a good way! From snow to ice, maneuvering over and around those obstacles help workout muscles you may not normally use. Plus, you’ll improve your balance. For adults, this results in better fitness. For kids, playing outside in the winter looks like an exciting obstacles course – they can climb up snowy hills, go sledding or ice skating, or build snow forts.
When exercising outside during the winter, protect your hands and feet well. Wear light layers to stay warm without getting too hot.