Alright, I'm sorry ok....I know that my last post discussed the lovely spring weather, and now we're back into the cold of a Cache Valley winter....but guess what? Good news is that running in the cold actually has some benefits!
So, I’m 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? I’m not going to pretend that I ‘enjoy’ stepping outside on a fresh cold morning in my running shorts…
But just because the temperatures outside have suddenly dropped, shouldn’t mean you should stop pounding the pavement.
I know and work with many long time runners...and even some who just started up as a New Year's resolution. Without fail they are getting outside and upping the mileage, and as a result, feeling great! For those just starting, they are now walking longer, able to do stairs without getting out of breath, and experiencing more energy throughout the day.
"Petersen, all that motivational speak is great...but it's cold again and my desire to run is fading, even though I don't want to stop..." Because I know a lot of people are likely to be feeling this way too, I wanted to share five good reasons why running in cold weather is actually good for you, so you 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 ideal for your run. The colder the weather, the less heat and stress 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 and make sure 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 Autumn 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 creep in, 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 help combat this ‘dull’ feeling, increasing positive mood states during the colder months.
4. It Strengthens Your Heart Cold weather makes the heart work harder 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, and 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 their summer vacations. Maintaining your regular routine, no matter what the weather, 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.
My big tip on this: If you are running now 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 stretch before and after runs, and even treat yourself to a sports massage, to keep your body free from any nagging pains and injuries.
For more info on exercises you can do to be able to run stronger for longer check out this blog piece Run Strong: 7 Simple Steps to Take to Avoid Injury This Year (pssst: there are helpful videos included).
Specialist Physical Therapy Clinic serving Logan and the Cache Valley Area