Here are a few reasons why:
- Soak up some sun
Compared to summertime, there is little daylight to catch during the winter, which means little opportunity to get your Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important to maintain bone strength and a healthy immune system, and getting some time in the sun can be the easiest way to get some. Whether you just bundle up and take a nice walk, or have some fun in the snow, getting outside to keep moving is still possible – and can even be good for you.
- Beat the winter blues
In spite of the beauty of the season, the darker days can seem rather gloomy, making it harder to stay productive and motivated. Whether it’s the usual winter blues or the more serious seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a good bout of exercise will boost the release of several brain chemicals that help to de-stress and improve your mood.
- Burn excess calories
Along with the cold and snow, winter often brings up thoughts of warm comfort foods by a toasty fire, not to mention all of the meals and treats that come from the holiday season. This all can often lead people to consume more calories than they burn, which all add up to some extra pounds. In order to make up for those extra calories taken in, you’ll need to expend more calories in the form of exercise.
- Keep warm
If I haven’t said it enough yet: winter is cold! Which means you’ll want to turn the heat all the way up as you try to forget what it’s like outside your door. Save yourself a bit of electricity by warming the body up from the inside as body temperature rises during exercise, an effect that can be soothing in the frostiness of winter.
- Stay healthy
Research has shown that regular exercise can strengthen the immune system so it can fight off viral and bacterial infections. This boosted immunity becomes particularly important as the winter brings a greater prevalence of colds and influenza.
- Learn to adapt
Life itself is full of surprises and winter weather can throw a few wrenches into your routine, but that doesn’t have to prevent you from staying active and healthy. Maybe it’s time to change your routine by getting creative and trying something new like a group class, a new outdoor sport, or some new bodyweight exercises at home when you really can’t get out. Whatever the case, it can be an opportunity to explore some different options to stay moving.
When it’s cold outside, it’s fine to grab a blanket and a cup of hot chocolate to relax with, but you shouldn’t forget about exercise to keep your body happy and healthy all throughout the year.
-Evelyn Osei-Kuffour, Exercise Physiologist at Dedham Health