There’s no doubt that exercising outdoors can benefit your mind, your body, and your health. This post will cover all the benefits and tips for training outdoors in the Summer and Winter months, and will hopefully give anyone who has any negative thoughts a more positive outlook on training outdoors, whatever the weather.
Training outdoors in the middle of the Summer season can be delightful, but training in the depths of Winter is too cold and dangerous!? Feeble excuses range from ‘it’s too dark and wet’ to “you could end up freezing in the cold’. Next up will be ‘melting in the rain”! Just NO, please stop! Training outdoors during the Summer and Winter seasons can be fun and exciting, although each of them come with different benefits and challenges. By taking the right approach and the necessary precautions with your training, you can workout effectively and efficiently whatever the season!
Benefits of training outdoors during Summer
The science behind training outdoors in the summer is that training at a high temperature burns more Calories and Fat. Why? The reason for this is that in the heat, the body is working harder than usual to cool down - when training in warm weather, we sweat a lot more than usual. Sweat comes from blood being transported to your skin – the more you sweat, the more blood being pumped around your body and the harder your heart has to work, which results in more calories being burned.
The nice warm weather gives you the Freedom to exercise in different ways and be more adventurous with your workouts. One place that will keep your training interesting is on the beach. Try a HIIT workout on the beach, and finish it off with a cool dip in the sea.. The temperature is often plus 30 degrees on our french retreats, even first thing in the morning. (check out our retreat here)
Increased Vitamin D is also a big advantage of exercising outdoors in the Summer months when the sun is shining. Vitamin D has been proven to contribute towards the prevention of illnesses such as Cancer, Depression, and Strokes. Many people have a Vitamin D deficiency, so it is a cheap and effective way to increase your Vitamin D intake.
Training in the sun in warmer weather has been proven to improve a person’s mood, which will make training a lot more enjoyable, or for some, bearable!
Finally, you can get a Tan!
Benefits of training outdoors during the Winter
Similar to training in the heat during the summer, training in the cold during the Winter can lead to more calories being burned. In this case, the science shows more calories are being burned as a result of the body working harder to produce sufficient heat to regulate your core temperature in order to keep the body and muscles warm. While you won’t burn as many calories as you would in the scorching heat of the Summer, you would burn more than working out indoors.
Increased Vitamin D, once again. You can never have enough Vitamin D, right!? Although it may be cold and frosty, during the Winter season there tends to be a good amount of sun light. Working out during the daytime and getting some extra exposure to the sun will not only make your training that bit more enjoyable, but will also give you the extra health benefits.
Often people complain about their breathing while exercising in cold weather, saying it is sore on their lungs or throat. Studies have shown that this cold effect on your lungs will actually help to train them to transport oxygen more efficiently and effectively which can result in better performance – put in the ‘hard yards’ over the Winter and come the Summer season you will reap the benefits.
You get a bigger sense of accomplishment compared to training in warm, sunny weather. Those long Winter nights sitting in cosied up by the fire are great, but wouldn’t it feel even more rewarding after being out in the cold and frosty air working out improving your health and body? Training outdoors in the winter gives you a phycologial edge.
Tips for working out in the Summer/Winter
Before training, the most important thing is to always warm up and get the blood flowing to your muscles to prevent any chance of sustaining an injury, particularly in the Winter.
When working out during the summer and the temperature is high, wear lightweight clothing that won’t weigh you down and lead to your body overheating. A pair of lightweight runners that allow your feet to breath can also be very beneficial when running.
It is important to hydrate adequately before exercising outdoors, a pint of water half an hour before exercise would suffice. During summer adding ice, or partially freezing your beverage of choice can be a refreshing treat during breaks while training in the heat!
During the Winter, once you are finished a workout it is important to get into the warmth as fast as possible and take any wet or sweaty clothes off as your immune system is somewhat weakened at this time. Firstly, the sweat on your clothes will turn to cold sweat, making you colder.
Wearing compression layers on your legs and upper body can be very beneficial when training in the cold. The science behind these is that they apply pressure to the covered part of your body, helping to promote blood flow to the muscles, and keep it there! They are great for keeping the heat within your clothes, and are an investment worthwhile – they also look pretty cool too!
Reward yourself. Something low calorie like natural frozen yoghurt is always nice on a warm summers day, adding fruit and granola can really add to the flavour! The same can be done during the Winter, but maybe with something hot to wrap your cold hands around!
Is it better to train outdoors during the Summer or Winter?
The answer to this question is that neither one is better than the other! Yes, they are quite different, but training outdoors in the Summer has its positives and negatives, as does training outdoors in the Winter. It’s all down to personal preference – if you like to train during the Winter but find indoors a bit boring or limiting, why not explore outdoor Winter training?
Here at Swift Fitness we aren’t afraid of the snow, and train all year round whatever the weather!? Have a look here at our committed members pushing their limits on a fine snowy winters morning!
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