5 Reasons Why Running When It’s Cold Is Good For You

Winter Running

Winter Running

We’re going to guess that you’re reading this article because you enjoy running (or know someone who does)…

Or you’ve read the title and thought it sounds crazy – what could possibly be good about running in the cold, right?

We’re not going to pretend that we ‘enjoy’ stepping outside on a fresh cold morning in our running shorts…

But, this doesn’t mean that you should just stop pounding the pavements just because the temperatures outside have suddenly dropped.

Just the other day, we caught up with a previous patient who, at the end of the year, decided to take up running to live a more active lifestyle.

Each morning, without fail, he got outside and upped his mileage, and as a result told us that he’s feeling great!

He can now walk further for longer, doesn’t get out of breath when taking the stairs, and has a lot more energy throughout his day.

But, the other day he admitted that now that it’s colder in the mornings, his desire to get out and run is fading away – even though he doesn’t want to stop this good habit he’s kept so well!

We know a lot of people are likely to be feeling this way too and that’s why we want to share five good reasons why running in cold weather is actually good for you. So don’t stop!

So lace up your running shoes, bundle up, and get outside to run after reading this…

1. It’s The Ideal Weather For Running

Believe it or not, cold weather is actually an ideal running condition.

The colder the weather, the less heat and stress is placed on the body, which makes it significantly easier to run.

Running in hot weather is taxing on the body. You’ve got to hydrate even more to make sure that you don’t overheat – there’s a reason why most marathons are held near the end of the year.

2. Running In The Cold Promotes Weight Loss

Running in the cold can actually burn more calories as the body has to expend more energy on staying warm.

During the fall and winter months, it’s a lot more tempting to move less and eat more. So taking your run outside is a great way to maintain your weight (and shed some if you want to).

3. Running Can Keep You Feeling Great

As the nights begin earlier and earlier, levels of a feel-good chemical in your brain fall, which can bring on something called Seasonal Affect Disorder in some people.

Running helps release powerful hormones that combat this ‘dull’ feeling, increasing positive mood states during the colder months. This is also known as a “runner’s high”.

4. It Strengthens Your Heart

Cold weather also makes the heart work harder in order to distribute blood flow throughout the body. If you exercise on a regular basis, running in the cold can make your heart even stronger and will help you prepare for your summer workouts. Not to mention, you’ll be able to run further for longer!

5. You’ll Keep In Shape

Many people wait to run until the weather warms up, attempting to cram in their workouts and get in shape for the holidays. Maintaining your regular routine, no matter what the weather condition, keeps excuses at bay and helps you stay on track all year round!

So there you have it! Five reasons why running in the cold is actually good for you, and why you shouldn’t stop, even if the colder mornings aren’t so appealing.

Pro tip: If you are running now that it’s cooler outside, proper warm-ups and cool-downs are even more crucial to keeping the body in top shape and free from injuries. Be sure to do dynamic stretches before and static stretches after runs, and even treat yourself to a sports massage, to keep your body free from any nagging pains and injuries.

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Nick Hunter, PT, DPT

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