5 Benefits Of Cold-Weather Running And How To Do It Successfully




Dec. 28 2023, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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Cold-weather running can be intimidating whether you’re a new or experienced runner. Before you close the curtains and go back to bed, consider these five benefits to cold-weather running. 

1. You can run longer distances.

As you run, your body temperature rises and you sweat to regulate it. Eventually, it can become too uncomfortable to keep going. Winter runs keep you cooler longer, helping you meet your distance goals.

2. It boosts your mood.

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Around 5% of adults in the U.S. live with seasonal affective disorder. The condition impacts more women than men and is often helped by spending time outside. A cold-weather run is the perfect excuse to get fresh air and natural light without freezing.

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3. You can enjoy a change in scenery.

You might be more likely to finish your run if you have the distraction of changing scenery. Many outdoor runners attempt to switch to the treadmill during the winter, but some find it challenging. When you’re outside, you can see the progress you make by how far down the road or trail you get. You can also enjoy the sights and sounds of the world around you. Cold weather doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying these aspects.

4. You can burn more calories.

Calories shouldn’t be the only thing you think about when running, but research shows you burn more by exercising in cold weather. Most tend to indulge in holiday treats throughout the winter and running in the cold can help burn off those goodies.

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5. It’s a great way to de-stress.

If you’re a mom, you try to make the holidays a magical season for your children but could fall into the comparison trap. If you’re not a mother, you might have to deal with family or a neighbor asking when you’re going to have kids, even if you’re child-free by choice. Single women are often asked about relationships and working women feel pressure to juggle their responsibilities. Running reduces your stress hormones and going outside can give you a reprieve from the holiday madness.

Tips For Successful Cold-Weather Running

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Before you head out the door, consider these tips to help you achieve your running goals in the cold. 

It’s a good idea to warm-up, stretching and preparing your muscles for the movement ahead. Doing so increases the blood flow to your extremities and literally “warms them up.” If you try to warm up in the cold, your body can fight against you by constricting your blood vessels to protect itself from the harsher weather.

Also, drinking a beverage mixed with some hydration powder or sipping on decaffeinated coffee or herbal tea when embarking on a cold-weather run can keep your body temperature up, which is one way to maintain your lung and cardiovascular health.

Be sure to layer sweatshirts and jackets over your top, and wear form-fitting gloves and a hat. Consider insulating options like nylon and merino wool that are light enough to carry or wear around your waist if you take them off. If there’s ice or snow, traction can be game-changing when trying to complete a successful cold-weather run. Some companies offer chains or pegs to attach to the bottom of your shoes for winter outings, increasing your running speed by offering more traction. You can also DIY your added traction by tapping screws into the bottom of your shoes, creating a border around the sole.

You can still complete a run when there’s a nip in the air. These tips can help you successfully complete your cold-weather runs.

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By: Mia Barnes

Mia Barnes is a health journalist with over 3+ years of experience specializing in workplace wellness. Mia believes knowledge is power. As the Editor-in-Chief of Body+Mind Magazine, Mia's goal is to cover relevant topics to empower women through information.

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