Source. How much fun does the above image look? Pretty great, doesn’t it? You’ve got your trusty CROSSNET, three pals and you’re putting your athletic prowess to the test on a warm, blue-sky day. On those days, motivation to get outside is easy. The days where it’s cold and dark? Ehhh, not as easy on the motivation front.
If the idea of stepping outside to break a sweat when it’s cold – however you define it – sounds dreadful to you, we get it. But, we’re here to push you out the door this winter season. Everyone needs a nudge sometimes, right? Right.
The benefits of cold-weather exercise are considerable and it’s time you give it the requisite consideration.
Avoid the Winter Doldrums
Isn’t it great when it gets dark at 4 p.m.?! – said no one ever. Limited sunlight and the fact that it’s pitch black out by the time many people get off work makes it easy for folks’ moods to sour during the winter. In fact, about 10 percent of Americans develop a condition known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD – what an appropriate acronym), which can bring about anxiety, oversleeping, social withdrawal, weight gain and even depression.
Exercise, even a brisk morning walk or bike ride, can make a big difference for your mood and mental mindset. So be cognizant of winter doldrums and head into the season ready to fend it off.
Avoid the Winter 15
When folks start feeling a little down or demotivated, it’s no wonder that the appeal of the couch, coupled with television and lots of your favorite snacks, ticks up a few notches. There’s nothing wrong with that, necessarily, but too much of it can lead you to pack on the pounds during the winter months. That may be particularly true once the holiday season parties and get-togethers give you a head start in that department.
Consistent exercise is a great way to get you off the couch and keep you fitting into your favorite warmer weather clothing once spring rolls around.
Vitamin D Intake
Sunlight is a terrific mood-booster, and when there’s less of it in the winter, you need to take advantage of it as it comes. Even small doses of sunlight can help with vitamin D intake, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
Embrace the Dreaded Cold (literally)
It turns out, getting outside, getting in a sweat and getting cold can help you fend off nasty colds and the flu. Even a few minutes a day of winter exercise boosts immunity during cold and flu season and helps to prevent simple bacterial and viral infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Just make sure when you do get your heart rate up outside, you warm up accordingly beforehand and dress to stay warm while getting active.
Take the Road Less Traveled
If you’re not a fan of crowds, winter offers a great opportunity to get exercise with a little more peace and quiet. There’s more than a decent chance your favorite parks, running, biking and hiking trails won’t be quite as populated once the thermostat dips toward and below the freezing mark.
Think about ways to mix up your exercise routine in a fun way by planning day trips for walks or hikes that offer brand new scenery. It’s a great way to get outside while also getting outside your comfort zone.
Well Would You Look at That?!
Winter scenery is picturesque, isn’t it! Even a dusting of snow colors your surroundings in a pleasantly different way, and winter also offers terrific sunrise and sunset viewings with less fellow gawkers potentially hindering your enjoyment of nature.
We’re really not just saying that – it’s science. No, seriously. It’s a bit above our heads, but a mix of meteorological factors makes winter sunsets better, with more bursts of bright colors, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologist Stephen Corfidi. If the NOAA and Stephen say so, we’re on board.
Easier to Push That Extra Mile
There’s a fine line between rewarding and icky when it comes to the feeling you get from a sweat-soaked t-shirt during a warm-weather workout. Well, cold-weather exercise offers an opportunity for more of the former feeling than the latter.
Without uncomfortable heat and humidity to cope with, your body can regulate its temperature a little better. Consequently, you may very well be able to exercise harder or longer, potentially burning even more calories. To boot, many find the cold weather gives them a jolt and makes them feel even more invigorated. Keep that in mind the next time when you’re struggling to get out of the comfort of your heated home.
Stay Social with Some Competition
On the subject of the dreaded winter doldrums, a factor that can accentuate the feeling is a lack of social activity. People may be more prone to stay inside and make fewer plans once the holidays are in the rearview, but it’s important to keep socializing to keep your mood up. We suggest planning an exciting 4 square volleyball session to get everyone’s competitive juices flowing. Once you’re spiking your way to victory, the cold weather will be just an afterthought.