While weight loss may be one of the primary reason we start a workout plan, it’s by no means the only perk (or reason) to commit to a fitness program. Regular exercise significantly improves the quality of your life, helps you age better, contributes to glowing skin, regulates your sleep cycle, and is one of the best de-stressors there is.
The takeaway? Working out needn’t (and shouldn’t) be just about weight loss. In fact winter is the perfect time to start a fitness program and you may want to consider doing it outdoors.
The fact is that you do indeed burn more calories during the winters. “Winter is the best time to burn fat since the cold helps you burn more, faster. It’s called thermogenesis. That is why swimming in cold water, especially if you start shivering, burns massive calories since the cold increases metabolically active brown fat,” says licensed therapist Kathryn Gates. Cold also increases insulin sensitivity, which determines how much sugar is absorbed by the body (and then turned into fat).
Here are some more very compelling reasons to exercise, especially when it’s cold outside.
- Reason #1: Exercise Improves The Flow Of Oxygen
You might not want to hear this but the quality of air at your local gym is definitely not up to the mark. With uncleaned air-con vents in a confined space that is shared between hundred, if not thousands of people, the air outside is far cleaner during the winters. This means your synchronized inhales and exhales will get deeper and purer if you resolve to exercise outdoors. Also, getting a move on will stimulate blood and oxygen flow, and help generate heat in your frigid body which is cramping up in the winters.
- Reason #2: It Will Strengthen Your Heart
The cold weather pushes your heart to work harder. This means that the cardiac muscles are thoroughly engaged to make sure every part of your body gets enough blood during this season. For people with a weak heart, exercise is the ideal way to strengthen your cardiac rhythm, even if it means indulging in indoor workouts.
- Reason #3: You’ll Drink More Water
It’s not uncommon to go hours without a glass of water during the colder months because you perspire less and aren’t as active. However, this unconscious oversight can take its toll on the body and skin. Poor hydration will hamper digestion, make you lethargic, and leave you with dry, scaly skin that can get itchy and bothered. Exercise simply ensures you reach out for water more often, particularly during and after the workout. What’s more, once you bring exercise into focus, you’ll inevitably end up drinking more fluids by way of health drinks, protein shakes, detox juices, hot soups, and the like.
- Reason #4: You’ll Improve Your Metabolism
A better metabolism obviously helps you lose weight faster, but it also regulates your digestion and helps determine how your body absorbs nutrition from foods. During the winters, your body is busy storing fat to keep you warm and lack of exercise just worsens the problem. Simply taking a run is quite enough to break this cycle and get all your juices flowing in the right direction.
- Reason #5: You Won’t Feel The Winter Blues
In real time, winters feel like a slow-mo movie that could well be running in black and white if you’ve been stressed about something in your life. Comfort foods, fireplaces, multiple glasses of wine, and no sunshine can add to the winter blues which make you feel gloomy. Now, exercise works as a great mood elevator and makes for the perfect solution to de-stress and get you out of that funk. It alleviates anxiety by releasing endorphins (happy hormones), and relaxes your muscles, in turn, relieving body stress as well. Haven’t you ever noticed how just running around the jogging track helps you clear your head?