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The pros and cons of exercising in the cold
In the midst of these icy months, the lure of a good workout is often outweighed by freezing temperatures, erratic forecasts and the fewer daylight hours that the great outdoors bring. So will you bite the bullet and take your exercise outside this winter? You decide!
Con: you won’t want to strip off
Finding warmer tights or that extra jumper to brace against the elements can be a massive burden when all we want to do is disappear under the covers.
Pro: you’ll start the day off to a fresh start
The rest will be made easier!
Con: exercising in the dark can be dangerous
Make sure you wear lighter or light reflecting colours in the early or later hours of the day to increase awareness around you.
Pro: exercising outdoors is free
Unlike gym memberships or classes – parks and streets are your free playground to explore!
Con: weather can deter outdoor activity
Rain, hail and lightening can put a halt on exercise in winter and are avoided indoors.
Exploring new paths or trails to take can spice up bland routines.
Con: getting lost
It’s hard to get lost inside a stadium or cardio room! You’d have to rely on a GPS or passers-by for directions if you get lost.
Pro: no wait
No need to be bound by timetables, lessons or machine availability. When you’re ready to go, off you go!
Con: colder days are often darker
Finding the time to work out before or after work, generally when it’s darker than in warmer seasons, can be unappealing.
Pro: the fresher you feel, the faster you run
You’ll acclimatise yourself to the chiller weather with each workout outdoors! You won’t be weighed down as much as bracing the stinking hot weather in summer, and you can always remove layers if you’re feeling overheated during your workout.
Con: you can’t watch TV while exercising
But you can motivate (or distract) yourself with music and workout apps.
Pro: cold weather strengthens your heart
Your heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body when it’s cold, building fitness endurance, reducing stress and maintaining general health and wellbeing.
Tending to an injury can be more tedious if you’re out on your own. Indoor facilities are better equipped for more immediate care in case you hurt yourself while exercising.
Pro: vitamin D
If you happen to be exercising when the sun’s out, you get a free dose of vitamin D, which studies show is a great pick-me-up mood and self-esteem booster!
Con: cool weather can cause tightness
So make sure you properly warm up and cool down before and after your workout to keep the blood pumping to your limbs, your body temperature regulated and your limbs limber! Plus, it’ll get you in the habit of doing warm ups and cool downs regularly.
Pro: you can bring your pooch with you…
Unlike at the gym! Not only can you get sufficient exercise, but you can make sure Fido isn’t cooped up unhealthily inside all day long!
Con: sun burn
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that you can’t get burnt by harmful UV rays all year long. Ensure you’re protected with sufficient sunscreen spray or lotion, and sport a beanie or hat for your face and scalp protection.
Pro: you’ll burn more calories
To accommodate the cold and maintain optimum temperature, we burn more calories outdoors than we do indoors – which is nice to counteract our comfort food eating when the temperature drops!
Whether you prefer the great outdoors or a session in the gym or on court, where you choose to exercise is an entirely personal decision. But as any good personal trainer or health and fitness enthusiast would know, variety is the spice of life – combining the best of both indoor and outdoor worlds will keep your exercise regime stimulating and enjoyable!