Experts say you should skip the treadmill this winter—here's why
1. Cold is actually the ideal weather for running
Believe it or not, cold weather is actually the ideal condition for your run, says Tom Holland, an exercise physiologist, sports performance coach, and author of The Marathon Method. "The colder the weather, the less heat stress on the body, which makes it significantly easier to run," Holland explains. "Running in hot and humid weather is extremely taxing on the body--there is a reason why the majority of marathons are held in October and November."
2. Running is a great tool for preventing winter weight gain
Getting yourself to the gym is a challenge in itself (especially during winter months), and a treadmill at home can get boring, which is why we love running outdoors. It's free, convenient, and never dull. "We tend to move less and eat more in the colder months," Holland says. "Running burns significant calories and is therefore a powerful tool in maintaining and even losing weight during winter."
3. Running can help prevent SAD
"When the days get shorter and the temperature plummets, many people suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD)," Holland says. "Running helps release powerful hormones that help combat this depression, increasing positive mood states during the cold weather months." And taking your run outdoors helps boost your mood even more: One study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology found that people who exercised outdoors reported increased energy, decreased feelings of depression, and were more likely to repeat their workouts.
4. Running will keep your metabolism going strong
"If you believe in evolutionary theory, our bodies are programmed to preserve our fat stores in the winter, slowing down our metabolisms in direct response to our decreased exercise levels," Holland says. "Running in the cold serves to ‘trick' the body, preventing this seasonal slowdown of metabolism and helping to maintain a healthy weight."
5. It's never too early to get ready for bikini weather.
"Many people wait to run until the weather warms up, attempting to get beach-body ready when it's too late," Holland says. Maintaining your regular routine, no matter what the weather, keeps excuses at bay and helps you stay on track for weight loss (or maintenance) all year round. "Running in the cold ensures that the weight will come off long before the clothes have to!"