Working Out in Cold Weather Helps to Burn More Fat

14th June 2019
When winter arrives, many people choose to postpone their training sessions. However, working out in cold weather can actually help to burn more fat. In this article we'll talk about all the facts behind this claim.

It’s well known that working out in cold weather is one of the best ways to lose weight. In other words, your body burns more calories because it needs to regulate its temperature to fight against the cold. But, there are many people that still don’t believe this. In the next article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about exercising in the cold, and if it’s true that you can burn more calories by doing so.

Some seasons, such as winter, are more helpful in promoting weight loss. However, some athletes believe that in order to lose weight, all they have to do is eat less and work out in cold weather.

We must eradicate such thoughts from our minds, as they’re too dangerous. In fact, if you want to burn more fat, you don’t have to eat less; all you need is a well-balanced diet.

It’s true that cold weather can contribute to weight loss, but it’s not a determining factor in itself. Exercising in the proper way and eating a varied and nutritious diet will guarantee results when it comes to weight loss.

Besides, if you practice a sport that requires flexibility, cold weather will probably not be your best ally. Under those circumstances, the muscles tense up and lose their flexibility.

Similarly, if you practice an activity that requires fast movements, you’ll be less efficient. This happens because your speed and the intensity of your muscles contraction decreases significantly in cold weather. However, there’s no need to worry too much about it because cold weather can improve your performance on a cardiovascular level.

Hydration and diet, the key to avoiding injuries

If you want to practice a sport during the winter, you must take some precautions. Don’t forget that, to prevent illnesses or injuries, it’s important that you have a good level of hydration. You must also eat a diet that includes carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables.

A couple working out in cold weather

When talking about hydration, it’s important to remember that while cold weather can cause the feeling of thirst to disappear, your body is still losing water through sweating and breathing. Therefore, it’s important that you’re well hydrated. Remember that the cold can decrease your thirst even when your cells are not getting enough water.

You may not feel thirsty when you’re working out in cold weather. However, the truth is that breathing in cold air and trying to maintain your body temperature can accelerate the dehydration process. It’s clear now that before, during and after your workout, hydration is an essential aspect!

On the other hand, you also have to consider increasing your calorie intake slightly to compensate for the loss of energy due to the low temperatures.

In fact, when you work out during the winter, you need carbohydrates for energy. Carbohydrates allow your muscles to work properly. As you know, these carbs are present in a wide variety of foods: rice, pasta, cereals, fruits, and vegetables.

Prepare your body before working out in cold weather

While sports and cold weather are good allies to lose weight, it’s also important to prepare your body before starting your training sessions. Basically, you must make sure you stretch all your muscles to prepare them to endure the physical demand and low temperatures.

Woman stretching in the snow

Don’t forget about your joints, ligaments, and tendons, as they can be lacking mobility and elasticity due to the cold weather. The diameter of your blood vessels can decrease to prevent heat loss. This clearly explains why your muscles are not as hydrated, which increases the risk of muscle injuries.

When it’s cold, your blood vessels contract, your joints are stiffer and your muscles are harder to warm up. Which is why it’s necessary to pay special attention and perform a good warm up if you’re exercising in that kind of weather. Broadly speaking, this decreases the risk of muscle and joint injuries.

Finally, remember that there’s no miracle formula to lose weight and burn fat. You must eat less and healthier, and get moving by practicing any kind of physical activity regularly.

Don’t forget that cold weather can promote weight loss. If you combine it with the right diet and work out routine, you’ll get amazing results. Take advantage of the weather conditions during the winter to achieve your goals!

  • Meyer, N. L., Manore, M. M., & Helle, C. (2011). Nutrition for winter sports. Journal of Sports Sciences29(SUPPL. 1). https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2011.574721
  • Wilmore, J. H., Costill, D. L., & Gleim, G. W. (1995). Physiology of Sport and Exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise27(5), 792. https://doi.org/10.1249/00005768-199505000-00024