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A Healthier You

Three benefits of (and three precautions about) outdoor winter exercise


(CNN) – Plummeting temperatures and less daylight cause many people to cut back significantly on exercise during this time of year or to shift their exercise indoors, to the warmth and comfort of their home or gym. This may be tempting, but here are three great reasons (and a few precautions) to encourage you to bundle up and head outside to stay fit, happy and healthy this winter.

You burn more calories

Research shows that exercising regularly in cold temperatures can increase the production of calorie-burning brown fat by 45% and can increase your overall metabolism significantly. This may be helpful in preventing the winter weight that often accrues due to lower levels of daily activity, reduced intake of fresh fruit and salad, and increased intake of comfort foods such as mashed potatoes and meatloaf.

Your mood improves

Exercise in general improves mood and can help reduce anxiety, stress and depression, but exercising outdoors may have added benefits, according to some studies. A 2017 study found that climbing outdoors for several hours, compared with indoor walking on a treadmill, improved feelings of pleasure and reduced feelings of fatigue.

Both exercise groups were calmer, less anxious and happier than a sedentary group, so if you really hate the cold, indoor exercise is definitely better than none.

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