Many of us gain at least a few pounds over the winter and may blame it on the extra food around the holidays. That may be true for some, but much of the problem is that we tend to stay indoors more and get less exercise. We aren’t out hiking or biking or even taking a daily walk. However, getting out in the cold to do a bit of exercise may carry extra benefits, compared to the same amount of exercise in the summer. Why? You may ask. It is the cold itself.
If you go out for a walk in cold weather, step-for-step, you will burn more calories than if it were warm outside. The cold temperatures changes our metabolism and makes us turn more of our consumed calories to body heat and to fuel for our muscles, for kinetic energy. Even after returning to a warm, indoor environment, that extra calorie burn effect will last for hours.
You need not get frostbite or hypothermia to achieve this effect, just breathing in the cool air and having a body temperature slightly below normal is sufficient, so do dress properly when out getting some exercise. Dress in layers and stay comfortable. One of the easiest ways to get hypothermia is actually to sweat too much, then slow down or stop and that surface moisture sucks the heat out of you dangerously fast.
A good line of clothing for winter sporting activity or even a good brisk walk is the new “Climaheat” line from adidas.com . adidas is well known for its “Climacool” clothing line, for hot weather, which wicks sweat to help keep you cool. But this new line uses several new unique techniques to keep heat in your body. For example, the fabric itself is made of hollow fibers, which mimic the insulating effect animals get from having fur. It also has futuristic new outer coatings which shed rain and snow, as well as new cuffs that keep in heat, even on their shoes. The result is that you can have lighter weight, more flexible clothing to keep warm in cold weather.
If you exercise inside, turn the heat down a few degrees, for the same metabolic enhancing effect. So don’t feel guilty for that extra piece of pie. You deserve a treat once in awhile. Just keep in the habit of some moderate exercise all winter long and you will melt off the pounds while it is cold outside.