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Running in Cold Weather: Good for Your Body?

Running in cold weather can have some surprisingly beneficial effects on your body, yet some people still view it as potentially dangerous. However, cold weather need not be a deterring factor when you are considering getting in some running exercise. Cold-weather running provides benefits like improving your energy levels, and subsequently, your mood--just as running in warm temperatures does. Another upside to running in cold weather is that your body will be more toned and healthy-looking for the summer months when you will want to show off more of your body. The key to cold-weather running is just taking precautions against the cold.

Weight Loss or Weight Maintenance

Running is ideal for either helping you lose weight or simply for weight maintenance. Running in cold weather does not change that. When you run, you are using a great deal of energy; this energy is what causes you to burn off a lot of calories. Since calories are what weight gain is based on, burning off a good deal of them when you run in cold weather is what keeps weight off or managed. Running in cold weather is simply all about preventing anything adverse from happening while still getting in exercise that is good for your body. For instance, if you run in cold weather, then be sure to dress in layers of clothing. How many layers will depend on the degree of coldness, but in general, you want synthetic material close to your skin (it wicks sweat away from your body) and an outer layer that fights off cold wind.

Cardio Health

Despite the colder temperatures, running in cold weather is still good for your cardio health. Some benefits include a desirable lowering of your blood pressure and even making sure that the arteries keep their elasticity. When you get these cardio-health benefits as you run, you are also helping your long-term health by lessening your risk of a stroke or a heart attack. Again, while running in cold weather is possible, you should still take precautions. For instance, if the weather is really cold, then you will want to make sure to protect your head by wearing a hat or even a scarf. The reason is that if you don't, then nearly 40 percent of your body heat will be lost through your head.

Slows Down the Aging Process

Slowing down the aging process is another reason why cold-weather running is really good for your body. It leads to a reduced tendency for your body to experience bone and muscle wasting (decrease in the mass of bone and muscle). As always, due to the cold, you want to stay on guard. One additional measure is to stay hydrated. Coldness increases the dryness effect, which can lead to dehydration, so make certain to drink before, during and after your run.

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