Cold weather workouts strengthen your heart, increase blood flow, and improve stamina.
Keep motivation up as the mercury drops with these winter health tips.
Here are the winter workout myths that are hurting your performance.
1. You Sweat Less in Winter, so You’re Not as Thirsty
MYTH: You might not feel thirsty, but Jack Frost is tricking you. Cold actually changes your thirst.
While fluid loss usually triggers thirst in warmer weather, the body doesn’t react the same way in the winter. “It’s not simply because we don’t feel hot,” said Dr. Robert Kenefick of University of New Hampshire.
His recent study, published in Medicine & Science shows that “cold actually alters thirst sensation.”
The hypothalamus doesn’t excrete as many fluid-regulating hormones because blood is being concentrated at your core to keep you warm. It’s a trade off: “Maintaining the body’s core temperature becomes more important than fluid balance,” Kenefick says.
And if you’re skiing at higher altitudes, The Wilderness Medical Society reports, the rate of water lost through breathing at altitude is about twice that for the same activity at sea level.
So, watch yo’self. Hydration drastically affects performance. Keep drinking even if you’re not thirsty!
2. Cold Weather Makes You Hungrier
TRUTH: Feel like you can’t quell comfort food cravings during the winter? You’re not alone.
Those hunger pains aren’t imaginary, for two reasons.
Dietician Clare Tone writes, “Shivering is fueled by carbohydrates—both blood sugar and stored glycogen—while protein and fat are poorly utilized for this purpose.”
When you’re cold, your body reaches into its glycogen stores, a “more efficient energy source than fat or protein.” This causes us to crave easily-accessible energy sources from carbs.
Secondly, metabolizing food generates heat. If you’re feeling extra hungry this winter, it could be the result of evolutionary genetics.
NPR reports, “Researchers say it’s our primitive impulses prompting us to stockpile calories for the winter ahead.”
They site a study that followed over 500 people over a year. Participants ate an average of 87 more calories a day as the winter set in.
So while it’s hard to suppress those “primitive impulses” it might be a physiological urge worth listening to.