Outdoor exercise doesn’t have to be seasonal! 

When the temperatures start to dip and the days get shorter, it’s easy to give in to the cold and take your workouts indoors for the season. But there are many benefits of exercising outside during the fall and winter months. 

 Schedule a once-a-week outdoor workout this winter, gear up, and you may find yourself falling in love with cold weather exercise – and in better shape!

Consider these benefits: 

Enhanced Muscle Aerobic Function 

According to an article in Men’s Health, the cold may improve how your muscles function. The cold prompts your body to continually make subtle adaptations; your blood vessels narrow, and your heart and lungs work harder. This brings more oxygen to your heart, lungs, and circulatory system to improve your muscles’ aerobic function.  

Ward off the Winter Blues 

According to the Cleveland Clinic, about 5% of Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and 10% to 20% may get a milder form of the winter blues. Multiple days spent cooped up inside can alter anyone’s mood. An excellent way to ward this off is fresh air, movement and sunlight! 30 minutes of exercising in the morning sun may be all that is needed to keep the blues away.  

Morale Boost 

There is nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment and motivating yourself to get outside for a workout when conditions are less than perfect, which is truly a success worth noting. Meet up with friends, or enjoy a solo workout outside on structures like Ecosystem for optimal fun. Reward yourself with a cup of hot tea or coffee under a cozy blanket after you’ve stretched out post-workout and begin planning your next one! 

Embrace New Training Opportunities 

The chillier months allow you the opportunity to try out something physical you may not have ever attempted. Skiing, ice skating, and hiking are all great outdoor activities that offer unique challenges and rewards during the winter. Once you have the right apparel and an open mind, the winter weather can open many new doors to get creative with your fitness routine. 

Here are a few things to remember when preparing for outdoor winter exercise: 

  • Dress in layers 
  • Protect your head, hands, feet, and ears 
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Don’t forget sunscreen 

Outdoor exercise any time of the year offers benefits such as fresh air, an increase in serotonin levels, sensory stimulation, the assimilation of Vitamin D and more. 

So, as we head into the next few months, take this chance to fire up your fitness level, try something new and take it outside!