Advantages of Winter Running

Embrace the Elements and Level Up: Discover the Advantages of Winter Running

It’s tough to run in the dark, in bad weather, and in cold temperatures. But, as the saying goes, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!” Let’s explore some of the advantages of winter running.

Winter running is the time to develop your mental toughness and up your game. Finishing a run under miserable weather conditions is an incredible confidence booster, and it will help get you out there next time.

Sure, it’s freezing outside. But before you retreat to the treadmill for your run, consider this:

Advantages of Winter Running
  • Chilly temperatures may change unwanted fat into a different kind of fat that actually burns calories.  The fat in your body isn’t equal.  There’s white, brown, and shades in between.  White fat is what we commonly think of when we think of unwanted body fat.  Brown fat is metabolic tissue that actually burns calories.  There’s a growing body of scientific literature that suggests exposing our bodies to cold temperatures turns our white fat to brown.  That means heading outside for a winter run could not only help you burn calories, it could change your body composition.

  • Cold is actually the ideal weather for running.  You aren’t likely to overheat.  Because of this, winter running is actually somewhat easier.

  • Running is a great tool for preventing winter weight gain.  We tend to move less and eat more in the colder months.  Running burns significant calories and is therefore a powerful tool in maintaining and even losing weight during winter.

  • Running will keep your metabolism going strong.  Our bodies are programmed to preserve our fat stores in the winter, slowing down our metabolisms in direct response to our decreased exercise levels.  Running in the cold serves to ‘trick’ the body, preventing this seasonal slowdown of metabolism and helping to maintain a healthy weight.

  • You’ll burn more calories.  When it’s cold, you start shivering because muscle movement helps heat up the body.  When you’re running in the cold, your body works harder and burns more calories to keep you alive.  Ergo, when you run outside in subzero temperatures, you’re dieting without realizing it.

  • You’ll strengthen your heart.  Cold weather also makes the heart work harder to distribute blood throughout the body.

  • You’ll feel happier and more energized.  Cold-weather exercise also has the ability to boost one’s mood, thanks to the lack of humidity (which creates that heavy air feeling in the summer months) and the stimulating aspect of the chill.  As the body works harder to stay warm, the amount of endorphins produced also increases, leaving you with a stronger sense of happiness and lightness following a workout in the cold.

Running in the winter is pretty hard core and pretty awesome.  When you layer up with your running friends, there’s something special and bonding about bundling up and braving the harsh winter air. And living to talk about it the next day.