Any workout is a good workout. With life as busy and stressful as it tends to be these days, if you can find thirty to sixty minutes to ride, run, ski, or even walk, then more power to you. Still, there are a lot of benefits to mixing in at least some outdoor activity throughout the winter. We’re taking a look at some of the reasons why getting outside can have an outsized impact on your physical and mental health.
We’ll be the first to attest to the time-efficient, calorie-burning, never-cold perks of hopping on an indoor trainer. Applications like Zwift and The Sufferfest, plus the technology of modern smart trainers make riding inside, dare we say it, rather fun. But too much of anything can get stale, and when time allows, having a winter sport that you’re passionate about can provide a much-needed change of pace, especially as we move deeper into the winter months.
There are some physical benefits from pushing your limits outside. Researchers have found that running and cycling in the cold can increase the efficiency at which your body burns fat, particularly what is called “white fat”, which is typically found around your midsection and thighs. There’s also evidence that winter exercise is, by and large, more efficient due to the lower heart rate and less sweat, which may allow even trained bodies to increase the longevity of output at a consistent rate.
One of the most important benefits, however, might actually be in your head. Winter sports like skiing and fat biking also help to soak up the sun. Most people experience dramatic declines in the amount of vitamin D they take in during the fall, winter, and spring months. By getting outside to exercise, athletes can help increase their vitamin D levels by making the most of sunny days whenever possible. On that same note, more and more research has found that, while that may not sure Seasonal Affective Disorder, light lamps used daily can have a big impact on the severity of SAD symptoms and increase energy, improve mood, and help regulate outlook in most patients.
There are other health benefits, too. Researchers have also found that consistent outdoor exercise can reduce your risk of catching colds or flu by between 20 and 30%. That’s a big number, especially in a time when the whole world is stuck with horror at the sound of a cough or sneeze.
Getting outside might not always be convenient, but it’s worth making time. You can get out the door faster, and more often, by getting organized with a tidy garage designed to keep your cycling, skiing, and all your gear in the right spot. To shop storage solutions, head here.