Even if you are not looking to lose weight, you might want to try exercising in the cold if you want to get rid of fat. Do you have a six-pack hiding under excess fat on your stomach? Exercise in the cold. According to a new study, our muscles produce a peptide called sarcolipin, which creates a ton of mitochondria. These mitochondria burn fat and the way to activate this peptide is, you guessed it, exercise and cold weather.
So, staying indoors isn’t the best way to burn fat unless you turn the AC on full blast. According to researcher Muthu Periasamy, PhD, exercising in the cold could double the amount of energy you burn, leading to a greater reduction in fat.
While you may want to stay warm inside under the blankets, you could be missing an excellent chance to burn a lot of fat and have fun. While a run outside in the snow doesn’t sound like fun, it may drop a few pounds of fat from your body over time.
HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN EXERCISING IN THE COLD
Here are four ways you can make your cold-weather workout so enjoyable you’ll be glad to do it everyday.
DO YOUR WARM UP INDOORS
According to Dan Giordano, DPT, warming up inside is great way to start your cold-weather workout. When you warm up inside, blood flow to your muscles will increase. So, boosting your heart rate in the warmth will lubricate your lungs for the workout that you’re about to do. With well-lubricated lungs and more blood flow to your muscles you will be prepared for the cold weather.
A simple warm up that may involve foam rolling, then exercises like jumping jacks or mountain climbers is great for you warm up.
GRAB A WORKOUT BUDDY
After work, working out alone can be great to relieve a lot of the stress that comes with being around people you didn’t choose, but when you are braving the cold, harsh winters, a workout buddy is excellent for accountability and sticking to a routine.
A workout buddy allows you to have more fun and give you the motivation to continue your regimen when you really just want to stay inside. Planning ahead and recruiting a committed person is great for your future healthy self.
In fact, a Kansas State University study showed that when you workout with someone you deem to be better than you athletically, you will workout about 200 percent harder.
Staying hydrated in the winter is very important as you may forget that you are still working as hard as you were during the summer. Though you aren’t sweating all the way down your shirt, you still need to intake lots of water.
According to the Mayo Clinic, men should drink three liters of water each day even when they do not workout, at all. If you do not feel thirsty throughout the day, set an alarm to remind you to sip a beverage every 15 to 30 minutes depending on your activity level. If you haven’t drunk anything in an hour, add electrolytes to get your body back in balance.
LAYER YOUR CLOTHES
During the winter, layering your clothes is crucial to stay warm. But, if you sweat and it stays on your body or even near you, it can be a lot harder to stay warm as the sweat cools.
If you are performing rigorous activities such as hiking, running, or shoveling the snow from your driveway, it is best to wear a next-to-skin performance garment. This base layer will remove sweat from your body so you can stay warmer.
The next step is to add an outer layer that is breathable. This layer will keep the coldness and other elements out, while letting the water vapor escape so you can stay dry and warm throughout the winter.
WINTER WORKOUTS THAT WORK
While you may feel intimidated by the super long skis or its reputation as an Olympic sport, Nordic skiing is actually easy to learn. So easy you can learn how to do it in an afternoon.
This activity works your legs, arms, and is very physically demanding. When you step out on the snow in your skis, your heart will definitely be pumping. Nordic skiing provides a full-body workout as you ski up hills and push your balance, cardio, and strength to their limits.
When you choose skate skiing, which is the type used in the Olympics, you can burn a whopping 1200 calories per hour.
Not only will you get the pleasure of some amazing scenery, but you’ll get a great cardio and strengthening workout when you go snowshoeing. With this sport you can burn 300 calories in just 30 minutes and build your balance, agility, and endurance. With the added aspect of needing to keep your body temperature up, you’ll also burn a lot of fat.
To burn 560 calories in an hour, jog in the cold. A simple activity, make sure to wear breathable gear so you won’t overheat. To protect your face from the damage of freezing winds, run along tall buildings and trails that are lined with trees. While winter is great for burning fat and losing weight, it can be really bad for the sensitive skin of your face. You may want to keep an eye out for icy areas that may lead to injuries.
As much as you hated—or still hate—shoveling snow, it’s a great upper body workout. Not to mention, you get great cardio and can leave your house. But, just how many calories can you burn in an hour? 500!
So, get outside and get some exercise. The cold’s your friend.