Most of us find it pretty easy to forgo our outdoor workouts (or exercise altogether) during the colder, darker months. Getting to the gym becomes that much harder when you throw in rain, wind, gloomy days and low temperatures.

Before you give in and restrict yourself to the gym, or worse, hibernating for the next few months, it may be worth considering the idea of an outdoor winter workout. An absurd idea? Hear us out because there are actually several unexpected benefits.

  • Improve cardiovascular endurance
     As long as it’s OK with your doctor, exercising in the cold can be a great tool to improve cardiovascular endurance.
  • You may burn a few extra kilojoules
    Because your body will be working so hard to keep warm, you may burn extra kilojoules and have a more effective workout.
  • It can keep you from getting sick
    Regular exercise (wherever you choose to do it) has been shown to boost the immune system which can help protect against the dreaded viruses floating around during the colder months. Exercising outdoors also means you can avoid gym germs. Despite common misconceptions about staying indoors to avoid a cold, you are much more likely to pick up an illness from the gym than the outdoors. With all the extra people in those close quarters sweating and sharing equipment, the gym during the colder months is the perfect place to pick up an illness.
  • It will make you happier
    We all know exercise makes you happier as it helps to release endorphins. These endorphins can trigger the release of dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters that have the ability to boost your mood and make you feel good.

Although there are numerous health benefits to exercising outdoors during the colder weather, be sure to exercise sound judgement about the weather conditions. If it’s raining or to the point where you are constantly wet, it can be potentially hazardous to be outdoors for too long. In this case we suggest that you exercise indoors.

Be mindful of the risks associated with a cold-weather workout, especially if you have heart or respiratory problems. However, if you are careful and take the necessary precautions, there’s no reason not to exercise during the cooler months and reap all the wonderful benefits from doing so. Give it a try this autumn and winter— it may even become your favourite time of year to exercise!