Healthy Beginnings

7 Benefits of Running in the Cold and What to Wear While Doing It

I know what you’re thinking when your alarm goes off these days. “It’s flippin’ COLD! No way I’m running out there. No way.”

But what if I told you that there are seven actual, real- life benefits to running in the cold? Just take a look:

  1. You burn more calories. No fooling! Your body has to work harder to regulate its core temperature, and voilà – more calories burned than compared to indoor workouts. Nervous about winter weight gain? Then, don’t skip your runs this cold-weather season.
  2. The cold will feel less cold. In other words, you’ll build an endurance to colder weather. We all know what that first cold run feels like, but think about your 5th or 10th. But also be mindful that you’re now in winter-performance mode. Focus on the e ort you’re putting out rather than hitting a certain time or distance.
  3. Get some good ol’ vitamin D! Running in the sun (even during the winter) gives you those critical nutrients you need (like vitamin D), which you’ll feel the benefits of even more, considering the shorter winter days.
  4. You’ll have a lot more elbow room. Remember all those summertime, optimal-weather runners in the park? You’ll likely only see a few of them now.
  5. Want a stronger heart? Run outside. Your heart works harder in cold weather to distribute blood throughout the body. Of course, this is great news for anyone who exercises regularly, but be careful. If you have an unhealthy heart, this could bring on illness or injury.
  6. Don’t worry because you’ll be happy! You are physically happier if you keep running. Running helps boost powerful hormones that work against depression, keeping you oh so happy.
  7. It’s never too early to get bikini ready – or one- piece ready – because let’s face it, they’re all revealing in their own way. Too many people wait until the weather gets warmer to start getting swimsuit ready, but that often can be too late if you’ve truly been hibernating all winter.

So, lace up those running shoes, slip on those extra layers and don’t forget your ear muffs. It’s time for a run!

A little advice: What to wear when running in the cold.

Waking up and seeing that it’s 20-something degrees out is not the only hurdle you have to overcome when you decide you want to go on a run – you also need to decide how to best dress for the conditions. Here is some general advice when temperatures are hovering around freezing:

  1. Start with a moisture-wicking fabric on the first layer. You want the sweat and moisture to be pulled away from your body as much as possible.
  2. Your second layer should be something warm – fleece or wool will do the trick.
  3. Finally, your third layer should be water and wind resistant. Water resistance protects against any possible snow or rainfall. Wind resistance helps shield against those arctic-like breezes.

As a seasoned runner myself, I’ve often followed the above guidelines and then felt WAY TOO HOT. So, if you’re unsure, layer up for a small lap around the block. If it’s too much, you can always drop o a layer at home and then continue on with your run.

But, even when I go with fewer layers, I never skip my ear muffs or gloves – be vigilant about covering up those extremities like your hands and ears. Also consider a hat since you can lose half your body heat through your head.

Caren Robin is a Kaia FIT Sierra coach and NCCPT (National Council for Certified Personal Trainers) and TRX certified personal trainer.