Unless you live in tropical climates, your exercise options these days are as follows:
- Skip it! There are cookies to be devoured and shopping to be done. Shopping counts as cardio, and stirring cookie dough makes for a passable upper-body workout.
- Do it indoors at a gym or yoga studio, accepting the crowds who want to avoid the cold and embracing the risk of getting, er, dripped on.
- Layer up, go outside and face…whatever conditions are out there.
Me? I go for option 3. I do enjoy shopping, and so help me, I love me some holiday baking, but I also love getting outside after spending most of the day cooped up at work. Granted, it’s a big, open office space with lots of windows, but it’s still inside. And I like yoga, but that requires planning, scheduling, and driving, and some days (okay, lots of days), I think about doing all of that and just laugh.
Except: Ugh. Outside.
I’ve made it clear in the past how I feel about the waning wintertime daylight, and there’s plenty more to dislike about cold-weather running. There’s the exasperation of finding tights that actually fit well (in my 21+ years of running, I’ve had one — ONE — pair of tights that I love, although a second pair currently looks promising). There’s the daily quandary of how many layers to wear, and how to arrange said layers. There’s the runny nose factor. There’s the mental hurdle of getting out the door when it’s sooooo nice and warm inside.
Yep. Plenty to dislike.
But! I swear it’s NOT ALL BAD.
Here are some benefits to braving the cold and going for a run (or a walk, or bike ride, whatever) in the cold:
- You can take a tour of the Christmas lights in your neighborhood. I saw a display a couple of days ago that was so impressive I had to stop running for a minute and just gaze upon it.
- Coming home feels even better than usual. Seeing your own light display, and knowing there’s a hot shower waiting to thaw you out: bliss!
- Getting away from holiday crowds and traffic and moving around in the fresh air is a terrific way to clear your mind of stress — and to fortify your immune system so it can fight all those cold germs floating around.
- Running up hills? Running faster to stay warm? Lovely metabolism boosters, so you’ll have more room in your belly for holiday treats!
Anything I’m missing? What do you like about exercising in cold weather?