Many people let the arrival of cold temperatures get in the way of physical activity. Yet, each season is conducive to it.
The benefits of physical activity
There are several well-known benefits to physical activity. Here are some of them:
- maintaining heart and blood vessel health
- strengthening bone mass
- preventing several diseases (e.g. diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, etc.)
- maintaining a healthy weight
- better managing stress
- maintaining good mental health
- feeling of overall well-being
- getting more quality sleep
These are all good reasons to continue your physical activities during cold temperatures. It would be unfortunate to let mildly unpleasant conditions stop you from doing your favourite activities.
Physical activity requires a great effort, and outside temperatures that are too hot can have some negative effects. In fact, the hot summer sun can cause heat stroke or dehydration. Fall temperatures, however, offer optimal outdoor conditions to practise a sport. Cool temperatures don’t have all the inconveniences that heat does.
It's true that cold temperatures can make people reluctant to go outdoors during winter. Yet, a wide variety of winter sports can make it more enjoyable. So, try a sport that is suitable for you or that you enjoy. Enjoyment is key to maintaining a physical activity.
Furthermore, beautiful winter landscapes can make outdoor activities very pleasant. Hiking in the woods, cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, snowshoeing, skating, and tobogganing are all activities that will help you reconnect with both your inner child and the charms of nature.
The risks related to the cold
Generally speaking, cold temperatures shouldn't interfere with physical activity. However, it is true that it can sometimes have certain risks, especially for vulnerable people. Here are some examples:
- onset of symptoms in people with a respiratory condition (e.g. asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- increased risk of angina pectoris or myocardial infarction in predisposed individuals
- blood vessel constriction that can cause problems for individuals with blood circulation problems (e.g. Raynaud's disease)
Depending on your age, health, and medical history, some particular precautions could apply. Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.
Prolonged exposure to the cold can sometimes lead to complications, such as hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia occurs when the body loses more heat than it produces, decreasing body temperature. This decrease can potentially affect physical performance and lead to other problems. Symptoms of hypothermia vary from person to person for the same core body temperature. The first symptoms may include, for example, feeling cold, shivering, difficulty speaking, and trembling.
Frostbite is also caused by prolonged exposure to the cold. It consists of skin lesions mostly affecting the fingers, toes, nose, cheeks, and ears. It can be unpleasant, painful, and cause itching. It is due to the narrowing of blood vessels by the cold. It generally resolves on its own, but can involve complications (blisters, cracks, ulcers, etc.).
Dress appropriately to benefit from the experience and to stay healthy. Be careful not to dress too warmly, as this can cause significant sweating, which can cause the body to cool down, Who hasn't already felt frozen in wet clothes? Try to anticipate how many layers of clothes are needed.
The appeal of indoor activities
If you don't like the cold, why not exercise indoors? In the warmth and comfort of a heated room, you can also reap the benefits of various physical activities, for example:
- exercise bicycle
- rock climbing
- gym workout
- racket sports
- team sports (e.g. ball hockey, broomball, volleyball, basketball, etc.)
The arrival of cold temperatures shouldn’t cut short your passion for challenging sports. Dressing appropriately and being motivated will allow you to benefit from the joys of fall and winter. So, go ahead, put on your hat and mitts and go out and enjoy the crisp air!