Pros & Cons Of Running Outside In The Cold

Running outside in the winter cold may seem like an odd idea, but surprisingly there are many benefits to running in colder weather. If you’re planning on taking your workout outdoors this winter season (and even if you aren’t), consider some of these pros and cons. You may even find the motivation you need to get outside when you look out the window and see frost or snow.

The Pros of Running Outside in the Cold

Running outside in warm weather is easy for most fitness enthusiasts. It provides a hefty dose of vitamin D, some fresh air, and all the good feels (aka runner’s high). So what can you look forward to when running in colder weather?

  • Burn more calories. The temperature outside and your body heat can result in a metabolic spike. You’ll burn more calories than usual with this extra calorie-burning effect.
  • Build mental toughness. Running in the cold requires you to push yourself just a bit harder than usual, which helps build your mental strength and determination. If you’re training for any races, this is especially useful to prepare for any weather that you might deal with.
  • Beat the winter blues. Running is a great way to boost your mood, especially with the dark days of winter. When you’re feeling low, dragging yourself outside for a run may seem like too much effort. However, getting out the fresh air and movement can make a world of difference if you can manage to get out in the fresh air.

The Cons of Running Outside in the Cold

Of course, there are a few good reasons to ditch the cold outdoors and opt for some indoor running on a treadmill or track too.

  • Lung health. If you’re not used to running in the cold, breathing in chilly air can feel pretty terrible on your lungs. This is especially true for people with asthma or other lung conditions.
  • Safety concerns. Cold weather brings with it slippery conditions and cold extremities. Having appropriate gear is vital to prevent injury inducing falls and frostbite. If you don’t want to invest in this gear (as many don’t), then stay indoors on a treadmill instead to stay safe and warm.
  • Costly gear. Having the right running gear for cold weather can be downright expensive. You can no longer just throw on your favorite pair of running shorts and shirt and hit the trails (or tarmac). Yet, going outside without the right outfit and shoes will make for a very miserable and dangerous run.

Is Running in the Cold Worth It?

If you’re not used to running in the cold weather, there is a bit of an adjustment that will need to be made. You may feel winded and less motivated than usual, and your breath and airways may take some time to adjust. Once you get used to it, running in the winter can have its benefits over running inside.

Whether you’re just starting to run or have been running for a little while, the most important thing is to stay safe. Ensure that you have all of the right gear and equipment before going out in extreme winter weather. Investing in good sneakers, a headband, and thermal running tights will ensure your safety and comfort if you decide it’s worth it.

To Run or Not to Run?

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if the benefits of running outside outweigh the potential negatives. Other factors that may play a role in your decision include your geographical location, fitness goals, and tolerance for cold weather. What’s most important is choosing a mode of exercise in the winter that keeps you safe, fit, and motivated to keep pushing to be your best self.

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