Can cold weather make you sick?

Should cold weather be avoided? Will it make you sick? The answers are no and no. Contrary to popular belief, research suggests the colder temperatures might actually be good for you – and they certainly shouldn’t be avoided.

The Benefits of Exercise in the Cold

In the winter, outdoor workouts don’t sound that appealing. For many, the snow on the ground and the cooler temperatures bring to mind cozy afternoons by the fireplace. But there are proven advantages to getting out there – including improved health and immunity. And who doesn’t want that, right?

Let’s dive a little deeper into the research:

Cold Weather May Improve Your Immunity

As a child, your parents may have told you to bundle up or you’ll catch a cold. Though we acknowledge the importance of the right winter clothing to prevent frostbite and hypothermia, it simply isn’t true that you can catch a cold from being cold.

The only way to catch a cold is by coming into contact with the virus itself. Studies further show colder temperatures have immunostimulating effects. Combined with exercise, the cold increased the number of immune cells, creating an even better defense against any foreign invaders.

Furthermore, the Wim Hof Method, which involves cold exposure and specific breathing techniques, demonstrated how cold temperatures might have the power to fight against inflammatory conditions, such as autoimmune diseases, and prevent acute mountain sickness (AMS).

Cold Temperatures May Boost Your Metabolism

In the cold, your body has to work harder to maintain its internal temperature, which burns more calories. Research also shows how cold temperatures stimulate brown fat activation and metabolism. This further elevates your energy expenditure and even your insulin sensitivity.

With brown fat activated, you also stand a better chance at eliminating subcutaneous fat, such as that around the belly, hips, and thighs. Thus, cold-weather workouts might help you improve your body shape by mobilizing more fat.

The Cold May Reduce Inflammation

Research suggests cold therapy acts as an anti-inflammatory — even helping reduce inflammation associated with allergic skin reactions. Studies further show how cryotherapy, which is therapy involving cold temperatures, helps improve muscle function, decrease pain, and reduce inflammatory markers. This likely comes as no surprise since ice packs are common go-tos for injuries and musculoskeletal pain.

Exercise in the Cold for Even More Benefits

At Nielsen Fitness, we encourage exercise anywhere and in any weather! If outdoor workouts are your thing, there’s absolutely no need to take a break during the cooler winter months. And now hopefully you know that, with the right precautions, you can obtain even more benefits from your workouts in the cold.

Thinking about hiring a trainer? The Nielsen Fitness team is proud to offer live virtual personal training anywhere in the world, and we also have an awesome team of in-home personal trainers in Toronto. Your first workout is always free – click here to  get started with our friendly and caring team today.

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