As the weather gets colder, some runners tend skip some training runs or end up on the treadmill. Running outdoors in colder weather has some health benefits. Even if the winter weather in your part of the world doesn’t include snow and ice, to be exposed to colder temperature, cold winds and rain is also mentally challenging. Running outdoors in cool temperature affects our body differently.
Benefits of training in cold weather:
- More Energy and Calorie Burn– When exposed to cold weather and we start to feel the shivering sensation, our shivering mechanism has to activate our muscles to produce the hormone called irisin, which stimulates our fat cells to produce heat. This causes our body to burn more energy and calories.
- Mental Strength Build Up– To push ourselves to go run outdoors when exposed to cold temperature and wind forces our brain to get stronger when dealing with adverse conditions. This is a great training tool for upcoming races, when we never know what type of weather we will be facing, our brain will be more comfortable and able to handle challenging weather. During the colder season, many people tend to avoid going outside, which causes some health issues (physical and emotional) from not being exposed to fresh air and sunshine. Run outdoors as much as you can.
- Muscle Strength Training– Running in cold weather affects our muscles as they tend to get stiffer as it lowers the ability of our muscle to contract as easily. We have to keep activating them to allow good contraction activation to support our running form. A proper pre-run warm up in cold weather is essential to get our blood flow going and warming up our muscles.
- Higher Metabolism– When running outdoors in cold weather, our body has to physically adapt to the cold to sink into heat production called Thermogenesis. This physical process increases our energy and calorie burning, and our overall metabolism. Not only does it increase our metabolism, but it also creates better body temperature regulation.
- Run Faster– Running in colder temperature trains your body to use oxygen more efficiently. When the weather is not too cold, around 10 degrees Celsius, it is considered the optimal running temperature to help you run faster and stronger.
Make sure you push and motivate yourself to go run outdoors in colder weather, rather than skipping your run or going on the treadmill. Your body and brain will benefit from the winter.