How Cold Weather Can Help You Lose Weight

February 3, 2014

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Cold Weather Weight LossThe cold may make you want to hibernate, but you don’t have to fall victim to winter weight gain. Using the weather as an excuse to slack on your weight loss plan won’t help you reach your goals. However, a recent study published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism will put this excuse to rest. Researchers found exposure to cooler temperatures may boost weight loss. Of course, if you are facing below freezing temperatures, we advise that you exercise indoors.??

When you go outside in cold weather, your body uses energy to warm up. Researchers found a decrease in total body fat after people spent two hours a day in 62-degree weather and an increase brown fat, which generates heat by burning calories, after spending six hours of the day in the cold for 10 days.

On the flip side, spending too much time indoors may make you more prone to obesity because you become sensitive to cooler temperatures, according to researchers. Motivating yourself to brave the cold may be difficult at first, but your body will adjust to being exposed to cooler weather after a few exercise sessions. Make the most of your cold-weather workout by taking precautions to stay safe and healthy.

Warm up. Your muscles may feel tighter in cooler temperatures, so it’s important to start your exercise routine with a low-intensity warm up to prevent injury and loosen your muscles and tendons. If you’re going on a walk or run, for example, go at a slower pace for the first five to 10 minutes to get your muscles ready for more intense activity. Research shows that those who warm up also have improved athletic performance.

Dress appropriately. Be smart and sensible when you are exercising in cold weather. Dress in layers. If you find you are too warm, you can always remove layers, but it’s best to be overly prepared. Your base layer should be made of moisture-wicking material like polyester, and you should avoid cotton because it absorbs moisture, leaving you feeling cold and wet. When the temperature dips into the 30s, make sure your hands and head are covered with a hat, gloves, or mittens.

Drink plenty of water. You may not crave water like you do during the warm, summer months, but dehydration is a factor in cold weather too. When you see your breath, you are seeing moisture leaving your body, and it needs to be replaced, particularly during physical activity. Make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids before, during, and after your workout.

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