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Benefits of training outdoors during winter

Updated: Sep 18, 2022

When the temperature drops outside, it makes a lot of us feel like hibernating indoors and waiting until the sunny, longer days return.

For many people, the thought of leaving the house to exercise is tough at the best of times, but when that also includes going out into the dark, when it’s cold and even possibly raining - this is even more difficult to do. The problem is, if you ease off your exercise during the winter, you’re going to struggle a lot when you start again in the spring.

If you decide to brave the cold and leave the electric heater behind you will soon find training in cold weather can bring plenty of benefits to not just your body but your mind too.

Boost your immune system

As winter’s grip tightens on all of us, bugs and viruses become common place and do the rounds & only a few escape without being hit hard by the common cold or flu. Doing exercise will not only help you fight off any symptoms of a cold or flu but reduce the likelihood of you even being affected. Your immune system works harder and is more prepared to fight off foreign invaders and their nasty symptoms.

Great cardiovascular workout

Cold weather forces your body to work harder during training, and this also applies to your cardiovascular system. As the heart works harder to pump blood around the body during cold weather exercise, this invigorating workout helps to keep your heart health in tip-top shape. With cardiovascular disease being a major health threat in this country, anything that strengthens your heart is a smart move.

Improves your mood

The winter blues or professionally known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is when you feel down and your mood is off despite all the holiday cheer. This happens due to shorter days and your body/mind not getting enough light and endorphin's.

Exercise can boost your mood at any time of year, but it has a particularly profound effect during winter, in fact, research has shown that a good workout can be up to four times more effective than taking antidepressants for example.

As well as being an effective mood booster and pick-me-up, getting outdoors in the fresh air in cold weather can help replenish vitamin D levels in the skin and research conducted in Finland found that training outdoors also has a positive impact on our sleep quality, physiological health and mental wellbeing too!

Not bad eh?

Burn more calories

Exercising in outdoors in the winter is like pressing TURBO BOOST on your fitness and weight loss due to the increased caloric burn. Because it’s colder, your body is working much harder to keep its core temperature regulated. As the body works to stay warm, the metabolism is kicked into overdrive and your body burns through more calories and fat.

Hands up if you like the sound of that? 😀

A better workout

Numerous studies have found that exercising outdoors in natural elements can result in a better workout than exercising in a gym. For example, when running outside, you face several types of challenges — uphill climbs, downhill descents, wind resistance — that are difficult to accurately duplicate on a treadmill.

Studies also have discovered that people who exercise outdoors are active more often and for longer periods than indoor exercisers.

Vitamin D

It might be darker, colder and possibly wetter during the winter but certainly not all of the time. In fact, most of our winter sessions are actually dry and really nice. The fresh air is incredible during the winter and really makes you feel alive when exercising. There is something very special about arriving home on a cold winter evening having just done an hours exercise, then getting changed and warming up. Wonderful! 😀👍

Just 15 minutes if exposure to the sun can provide a lot of vitamin D, so our weekend or mid-morning sessions will give you what you need plus more

Wear the right clothing

To enjoy training outside in the winter, you need to make sure you are wearing the right clothes. Base layers and leggings are perfect together with a looser t-shirt or shorts over the top. Trail trainers are a ‘must have’ for our Bootcamp sessions and some people prefer to wear gloves too when it gets really cold. You can even buy thin waterproof gloves (or add them to your Christmas wish list maybe)

So there you have it, lots of reasons for exercising outdoors during the winter and some great physical and mental benefits too.

At Get Fit Today, we have you covered. Over the winter we offer a mixture of both indoor and outdoor sessions, during the week and at weekends so you can still exercise at least 4 times a week every week without the need to go out in the dark if you don’t want to.

As you can see, there will now be an indoor session every Wednesday and Thursday in either Abington or St. Crispins.

Next time you look outside and see it’s dark, Or a bit windy just think back to this blog - get yourself changed and head to the park 👍

See you soon.

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