In previous years, by this point of the year, it is possible to venture out in little more than a vest/t-shirt and shorts without thinking twice.
Unfortunately, this year is proving to be a completely different kettle of fish altogether, as the recent poor weather has meant that I am stuck wearing at least three layers for the foreseeable future!
Rather than staying at home feeling sorry for myself at the fact that I can’t show off more of my pasty white skin, I thought I would use the cold weather to my advantage.
You may find it hard to believe, but exercising outdoors is one of the most effective cold & flu prevention methods, as frequent exercise in cold-weather conditions will actually boost your immune-system.
- Another benefit of cold weather training is that your body has to expend additional energy (calories) in order to keep you warm; specifically in the form of brown fat. Cold weather exercise is notoriously good at activating brown fat stores, which are more effective at burning calories than your normal fat stores, which roughly equates to an additional 500 calories burned per day. An ice cold shower in the morning produces a similar effect.
- Another benefit is that exercising outdoors can counteract the brain’s dramatic dip in feel-good chemicals as a result of the short days and long nights; this is achieved through an increased production of serotonin in your brain.
- It has also been clinically proven that running is four times more effective at reducing the symptoms of depression when compared to anti-depressants.
- Finally, running in wintry conditions means that your body is actually being trained to use oxygen more efficiently, which will come in handy the next time you are 10 miles into a half-marathon.
Unfortunately, all this is only true if you make sure you are adequately wrapped up against the elements. If you take to the streets in a skimpy vest and pair of shorts in this weather, then you are asking for trouble; it is vital to layer up, which will help to keep your muscles warm and reduce the risk of injury.
If you must wear a skimpy vest, at least wear a thin layer underneath, such as a base layer from Helly Hansen. In my opinion, Outwood Sports stocks a wide range of Helly Hansen base layers in a range of colours and sizes. Alternatively, a lightweight Helly Hansen Jacket over the top of your running gear will be just as effective.
So, there you have it, I have just given you 5 less reasons for not going for a run in this weather – don’t shoot the messenger!