Why you should exercise during winter


Why you should exercise during winter

From a better time to boost your Vitamin D levels to a faster way to burn those calories, the arguments are fairly solid

By Dr Rohit Kumar, Head of Surgery, Medeor 24X7 Hospital, Dubai

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Published: Thu 10 Jan 2019, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 18 Jan 2019, 8:26 AM

It is not a misconception that, as soon as temperatures fall, the mindset of people alters and they lose the determination to be physically active. Everyone deserves a break to allow for relaxation, rest and recovery. But that said, the benefits of exercise during the winter season factually outweigh the lure of being inactive - and there are multiple reasons why it is an opportune time to work out. Here's analysing why there's no time like the present to get moving.
Burn calories faster
The drop in temperatures during winter makes for an ideal time to fire up your metabolism, as the body works harder than usual to stay warm - burning additional fat in the process. It is a scientific fact that the calorie-burning rate is higher during winter, as the body uses up more energy to keep itself warm. A perfect way to fully utilise this when working out is to dress in layers before exercising, so that you can remove them as and when you start to sweat.
Improve your immune system
Regular physical activity provides a strong boost to the immune system. Research has consistently shown that regular exercise strengthens the immune system, so it can fight off bacterial and viral infections. This becomes particularly important during winter, when illnesses, such as colds and flu, are extremely common.
A better state of mind
The human body naturally heats up when working out. The rise in body temperature has a soothing and positive effect on the mind and releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in the brain that reduce perception of pain and trigger feelings of positivity in the body and mind.
More sun exposure
Whilst winter provides restricted amounts of sunlight, it's still a much better time to expose yourself to it - as opposed to summer-time. Vitamin D is extremely beneficial for the bones in maintaining and gaining strength, absorbing calcium and keeping the immune system strong. In addition, research has also found that it can prevent high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. While there are foods that can supplement the body with the 'sunshine vitamin', they are limited, so your best bet is still to get out in the sun.
Battle seasonal weight gain
The ability to resist unhealthy foods are likely to be far less during cold weather. How can one deal with seasonal weight gain? The best way is to maintain - or increase - the amount of exercise being undertaken. Exercising during the winter helps you stay in shape while enjoying life, instead of indulging now at the expense of spending additional hours in the gym later. It is also a much smarter option to stay in shape all year round, rather than opting for crash diets and rigorous workout sessions to lose weight in a short period of time.
Do your lungs a favour
Fresh air within households during the winter period is less common than during other seasons. Generally, the air outside is far healthier than inside, so heading outside for a walk or a run provides the lungs with an opportunity to detox, cleanse and work deeply and efficiently - without taking in germs from others in your vicinity.

The evidence that the winter season provides nothing short of a fantastic opportunity for exercising is fairly solid. The colder the weather and climate, the less stress of external heat there is on the body. Running or exercising in hot, humid conditions is extremely taxing on the body; working out in winter, on the other hand, is both comfortable and beneficial. Calories are far easier to get rid of, whilst one's state of mind and immune system improves without additional weight gain. Overall, anyone who heads into spring with a winter of regular exercise behind them will be in a far better mental and physical state than those who don't - and the results will speak for themselves.

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