Training in the Winter Cold - Is it good for you?


Training in the Winter Cold - Is it good for you?

By: Stu Wright personaltrainerleeds, personaltrainingleeds, traininginthecold, winter

Training in the Winter Cold - Is it good for you?

Training in the Winter Cold

Winter is here! It’s January, it’s freezing, it’s miserable. You’re avoiding your personal trainer’s calls because you don’t want to face the cold. Surely it’s not good for you training when it’s this cold! Wrong! If you are adequately equipped, training at cold temperatures has some surprising physiological and mental benefits. Whether you are resistance training, lifting weights for muscle gain, hitting the cardio on the treadmill or outdoors on the road you can benefit from all of the below if you layer up and get moving.

Boost your immune system

As the temperature plummets cold and flu is suddenly everywhere! Exercise can help to boost the immune system and reduce the chance of infection. According to a 2019 research review, moderate-intensity exercise can stimulate cellular immunity by increasing the circulation of immune cells in your body. This helps your body better prepare for a future infection by detecting it earlier.

Great Cardiovascular workout

With the cold weather forces your cardiovascular system to work harder. Exercising through these cold periods will force the heart to work harder to pump blood around the body helping keep the heart in top condition and with cardiovascular disease being a major health threat in the uk this is not a bad thing!

Improves your mood

The winter blues can kick in with a force once winter’s icy grasp takes hold, particularly for the 2 million people in the uk that suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) thought to be caused by the shorter days causing a lack of endorphins in the body. Research has shown that a good workout can be up to four times more effective than taking antidepressants, for improving symptoms of depression. As well as being an effective mood booster and pick-me-up, getting outdoors in the fresh air in cold weather can help replenish those all important vitamin D levels in the skin.

Burn More Calories

Training in the cold means your body has to work harder to keep it’s core temperature regulated. As the body works harder to stay warm, the metabolism is boosted causing your body to burn through more calories and fat and aid weight loss.

Better Workout

You will have to work harder to stay warmer when it’s cold and the harder you work, the more beneficial the workout. Simple!


Invest more time in your warm up……

The lower your temperature, the longer it is going to take to warm the body up. Ensure you factor in more time than usual to get the body to a suitable temperature before embarking on your main workout. This will help avoid injury and improve the effectiveness of the work out as the muscles and joints will be better prepared. Make sure to throw in plenty of dynamic movements to get the joints moving and prepared.

And cooling down….

It is advisable to spend some time doing some low intensity movements and stretching the muscles after your workout. Going from the cold into the warm can be a shock to the system and cooling down and stretching will help you regulate between the temperatures so you don’t get stiff.

Stay Hydrated

We often believe we haven’t lost as much fluid through sweat when it is colder and therefore tend not to hydrate as much, however, we do still sweat, it is just lost quicker to evaporation, so ensure you still replenish lost fluids regularly during training.

Layer up

Layer your clothes to enable you to remove or put on layers according to your body temperature. Start with a tight-fitting base layer such as a compression top. Wear a looser fitting garment over the top such as a vest or t-shirt and an outer layer such as a fleece, light jacket if training indoors or if outdoors something protective such as a windproof running jacket. You can also protect the face from the elements by wearing gloves, goggles and face covering if necessary while training outside.

So how cold is too cold to train?

According to research if appropriately prepared and relatively fit, you can train in temperatures down to a bone chilling -18 degrees! Yes, this does sound extreme, but leaves no excuses for not training when the temperature drops a little.

So there it is! All the reasons you need to embrace the cold gym and those outdoor runs during the winter months. Better immune system, better heart health, better mood. Get layered up and go burn off that Christmas excess!

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