Friday, December 08, 2006

Don't let winter make you SAD

Don't let this cold weather get you down. There are many advantages to running through the winter.

Firstly, if you're running during the day you will dramatically reduce your chances of being affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) otherwise known as the winter blahs. By getting more sunlight you will feel better which will also encourage you to eat better and exercise more. Inactivity is a double edged sword as the less active you become the easier it is to stay inactive and the harder it becomes to make healthy choices.

Secondly it's much easier to run in the cold than the hot from a cardiovascular point of view. The air is denser and there's less pollution so you have better oxygen delivery to the muscles allowing you to be much more effective at fatty acid oxidation which is the energy system commonly called the 'fat burning zone'.

By maintaining or lowering your body fat composition during the winter you are fighting back the body's natural response of storing more fat during the hibernation months.

Maintaining your base fitness during the winter also gives you a jump start on next years running season and you will not spent the spring and early summer getting back the fitness you lost.

As always, remember safety. Run a little slower if it's icy and take precautions against bad weather such as layering, covering exposed skin, heading out into the wind for the first half of your run and choosing routes that allow you to make a short cut home in case the weather starts to get to you.

I can assure you that running through the winter is not as bad as you think. There's only a few really bad days each year when you really shouldn't run but don't let them hold you back from being ready for next years bikini season.

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