Brave the Cold—You’ll Burn More Calories

Parts of the country are experiencing temperatures well below the norms, and when it’s that cold outside, you’ll probably want to do nothing more than curl up under a blanket in the warmth of your house. But by doing the exact opposite and braving the cold for a workout, you can burn many more calories than you would for the same workout in temperate weather – giving your New Year’s fitness resolution a real boost.

Why should you face the cold?

There’s a simple reason exercising in the cold burns more calories: Your body is already using energy to keep itself warm. That’s why you tend to feel hungrier and crave heartier foods in the wintertime. So, when you compound the calorie-burning effects of cold weather with any workout, you can burn many more calories.

When is it too cold?

There is a sweet spot when it comes to working out in the cold. One study from the University of Albany showed that people who hike in temperatures of 15 to 23 degrees burn 34% more calories than people who hike in temperatures in the mid-50s. When temperatures dip below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s probably too cold for a workout, so you might stick to the treadmill instead.

How should you prepare?

When you first step outside, you’ll probably feel the full impact of the cold weather, but as you get moving, you may find that you’re still able to work up a sweat, especially with an intense workout. That’s why it’s smart to wear moisture-wicking layers that can be easily shed if you get too warm. You’ll also want to remember that because you’re burning more calories, you might cut the intensity of your workout so that you don’t accidentally put too much strain on your cardiovascular system.

Through every season, make better decisions for your health with MeMD on your side. You can consult a medical provider through us any time, and our blog provides a wealth of health and exercise tips to keep you moving.