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Should You Exercise in the Cold?

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Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.

There is an increasing amount of evidence that proves ether exercising in cold temperatures can help you burn more calories which will make your workout more effective.

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We may not be fans of extremely cold temperatures, but somehow we tend to enjoy it because it provides us with a valid excuse to seat back and just hide under a huge pile of blankets while we chat with friends or see a movie we have been wanting to see.

Avoiding the cold outside may seen like the wisest thing to do but if you take the opportunity to get out there and exercise, you just might discover what magical effect exercising in the cold can have on your body.

Whether what you hope to advice is shed a few pounds or build some healthy muscles, the cold weather is one of the best times to make that dream a reality. Moving forward we will be looking out what health implications come with working out in the cold, what exercises are best for cold weathers, and how best to dress if you choose to work out in the cold.

Health effects of exercising in the cold

As many health professionals will tell you, almost any and every form of movement is healthy unless of course you are digging into leftover holiday cookies and shoving them down your throat.

And if you eat a healthy breakfast before going around for long hours daily regardless of how cold the whether is, you might find out that you reach your health goals faster than you imagine.

There is plenty of evidence to prove that cold weather can may spark some evolutionary traits that are left over in us. The kind that allows us burn calories faster without even realizing it.

In simpler term, spending time in the cold engages the healthy kind of body fat that humans consumed heavily during our hunting and gathering days when our ancestors were exposed to the cold for extended period of time. It all comes from brown fat, the kind of fat that is healthy and also useful for insulating the most vulnerable bit of the human body.

In sightly cold weathers, it can help to burn a few hundreds of calories by itself as long as a person is cold enough for a long time. With the existence of central heating and insulated clothing, the brown fat in most people’s body cannot be activated.

A pioneer in brown fat research and researcher at the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School, Dr. C. Ronald Kahn, explain that the brown fat thing is a temporary trait that can be undone easily with half a muffin.

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Once you activate your brown fat, it can stay active for as long as a week but there is no chance I’ll stay permanently. What this means is that you can’t count on your brown fat to do the bulk of the work for you. You should get your running shoes and put them to good use while your brown fat does its piece of the work.

Running is an exercise that is highly recommended for cold weather because your heart rate is usually lower during such weather compare to when you exercise in the warm months.

In months that are more humid and warmer, what your body tries to do is to cool itself down, and that forces your heart to work harder. Expect the opposite to be the case in cold weather.

The bottom line here is that any exercise that has the same effect that running has on the body is good enough for the cold months so your brown fat is just going to serve as an assistant to help you reach your exercise goal.

The best exercise for cold weather

Talk about the best time to burn more calories and increase your endurance and I’ll be talking about the cold weather. Any form of exercise is good even though running send to be the best.

You can go for a long walk, you can go jogging with your dog, or even get involved in one winter activity or another like skiing or even snow shoeing.

If you live in an area where it snows, you may want to consider grabbing a shovel and putting away the snow blower. You should also consider grabbing kiddos on a sledge as you go for a walk.

For a lot of people dressing up and putting on running shoes is the easiest way to work out during cold season. You can start with a walk and eventually turn it into a run so that say the end of the activity you not only feel warm, you feel alert and even ready to climb to scale.

Nevertheless, the major issue with any kind of exercise you decide to engage in its the safety of the exercise. No body will like to put in several hours of back breaking hard work only to have an avoidable injury set him or her back.

What is the right way to dress when working out in the cold?

While there is a chance that certain temperature may be too cold for anyone to workout, that temperature is yet to be identified as of now.

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There are many factors that must be considered if you decide to go exercising in the cold and two of those are how well you can acclimatise to cold conditions and how much layers your workout clothes have.

First of all, it is vital to know that when you go to work out in the cold you will definitely catch cold and what you don’t want to do is to bundle up and feel toasty and warm before you even begin. Feeling all hot and sweaty before you begin exercising defeats the purpose.

Just make sure you wear clothing that has layers and the first layer should seat just tightly on your skin. The next layer of clothing should serve the purpose of protecting you from the elements.

How cold is too cold for exercise?

Exercise in the Cold

While comfort and temperature vary from individual to individual, there is no denying that there are certain universal truths.

For people who have medical problems it is wise to consult a doctor before getting involved in any kind of exercise no matter the temperature. Even for athletes that are well seasoned, when there is a cold weather warning by the national weather service, they make sure not to go outside for training.

Once you notice that the temperature is too cold for you, get yourself back into the house and stay there till you feel it’s a little warmer. The best time to exercise is winter so do not be too scared to get in the cold and shed some weight.

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