Cold Weather Workouts Have Cool Benefits


About Guest Author Jason Lewis: Jason Lewis is a personal trainer. In 2002, he became the primary caretaker for his mother after her surgery. He realized, as he helped her with her recovery, there is a special need for trainers that can assist the seniors in our community. He worked with his mother’s doctor, as well as other personal trainers, to create programs that are considerate to the special health needs of those over the age of 65. Jason Lewis is dedicated to providing an informational resource, StrongWell, for people of all ages to stay fit and for caregivers to help their loved ones have healthy active lifestyles.

Cold weather workouts have plenty of cool benefits

While New Year’s resolutions can encourage people to sign up for the gym, inclement weather and shorter days may be keeping people away from their new gym memberships.

But, working out before the warmth of summer has quite a few advantages bringing physical benefits in the spring and summer. It can also protect you during flu season.  Research shows that aerobic exercise can have a positive effect on your immune system, increasing your chance of resisting illnesses.

Additionally, many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression that is linked with the season. It commonly occurs in the winter when days are shortest. Exercise can be an effective tool to combat depression. In 2016, a review of existing studies collected data on over 1,140,000 adults and found that “the links between fitness and mental health turned out to be considerable.”

Cold-weather workouts

For many, outdoor sports including skiing or snowshoeing are great activities but can be costly.  Common outdoor workouts, such as running and hiking, can be helpful in aiding weight loss, as well. A recent study showed that exposure to mild cold temperatures can increase the amount of brown fat in your body. This “good” fat helps to burn off “bad” white fat, the kind we want to eliminate when trying to lose weight.  

If you are attempting to workout in the cold weather, make sure to bundle up appropriately, wear shoes that are reliable in the conditions and choose daylight hours.

Home gym workout

Unfortunately, cold weather can bring storms, outages, gym closings, dead batteries, and viral or flu epidemics. Setting up a home gym removes all those excuses, allowing you to workout no matter the conditions.

It doesn’t take a lot of cost or space to create a gym in your home. Select an area of your home where you don’t have heavy traffic or interference from either furniture or others. If you have a cat or dog, consider where you will keep them while you exercise. Remember that walls can make a great resistance tool as well so it’s good to have a clear one nearby.

You don’t need a costly treadmill or home gym equipment. In fact, these products can be hazardous. In 2012, 460,000 people   in the U.S. suffered treadmill injuries.  And in 2009, boxer Mike Tyson lost his daughter when she got caught in a cord that hung from the treadmill in their home. Lock away any loose cords, heavy weights, and other dangerous items when not in use to safeguard children and pets.

Buying equipment

What sort of equipment should you purchase for your home gym? This depends on how you train. Here is what to purchase for the following workout types:

  • Yoga: Purchase a yoga mat and a guide on the type of yoga you want to do. Yoga blocks and straps can help beginners develop their poses.

  • Weight Training: Dumbbells and kettlebells are a must to build lean muscle. You’ll want a variety of sizes that meet your skill level but will allow you to grow as you train.

  • Balance/ Coordination: If you have a bigger budget, invest in a Bosu Balance Trainer. It is useful for a number of disciplines, including adding challenge to traditional exercises.

  • Any workout: Adaptable resistance bands are an affordable tool to help you build strength. You can use them for any part of your body. Plus, they are light and flexible, so you can take it with you even when you travel.

Cold weather is no excuse not to keep up with your fitness routine. Find one that works for you to benefit your heart and immunity.  Stay motivated while you wait for warmer weather.