Overall, it is very important to allow the body to adapt to different situations and circumstances. If you do the same thing for too long the body gets used to it so change is necessary for effective adaptation.
A great example would be to exercise in cold weather versus what you may be normally used to. The variations in exercise modalities and movement patterns will increase metabolic load and allow the body to essentially burn more calories.
The best part about winter sports is that you can have fun exercising and it be more effective than “running” due to the higher metabolic load.
Skiing is known to be one of the most demanding sports using a combination of upper and lower body, core stabilization, acceleration and deceleration.
Variations in endurance will also and altitude will also increase intensity and demand placed on the body. Snowboarding has not been known to have the same effect on metabolic load, although includes intense concentric and eccentric muscle contractions.
It will leave you sore the next few days if you are not used to it! There are many winter sports so choose from so get yourself active outdoors and not used to the same mundane routine.
Metabolic load does not necessarily increase from just cold weather and the increased demand needed. Studies indicate many different thought processes in regards to the benefits of exercising in the cold.
Some say 80% of energy generated in the muscles is wasted through the thermogenesis tradeoff for another as the body seeks homeostasis.
Others state that there is a higher metabolic reliance on fat and an increase in exercise VO2 in the cold. Winter exercise boosts immunity during cold and flu season with just a few minutes a day to help avoid bacterial and viral infections.
Studies also indicate some mental health benefits associated with cold-weather exercise. Exercising in extreme temperatures, hot or cold, has shown the ability to enhance endurance and mental edge.
Cold-Water exposure such as winter swimming can activate the central nervous system and stimulate the circulation of hormones that may promote improved mood and energy. Shivering in itself is a mechanism to produce heat and will burn a significant amount of calories.
Winter sports can pose danger as well and not always the safest approach. Being out in freezing temperatures can lead to things like hypothermia, frostbite, etc.
You must also make sure that you warm-up properly with increased blood circulation and proper joint manipulation. Frostbite risk is less than 5% at temperatures of 5 degrees or higher, but windchill can drop the temperature to -15 degrees where frostbite can settle in within 30 minutes.
Make sure to take breaks and stay hydrated as drastic change in temperature and demand placed on body can also cause harm to the body.
You need to drink more water in the cold than what you may be used to indoors due to the dryness of the air in cold weather and water loss from exercise respiration. Dehydration will also increase the risk of frostbite, which why it is essential to always drink water!
Remember to check weather conditions, wind chill, the signs of frostbite, dressing in layers, protecting vulnerable areas, safety gear and drinking plenty of fluids!