Running in the Cold: It’s Good or Bad + 5 Benefits+ 8 Tips

Running in the cold might seem difficult, but if you will take the necessary precautions, then you can avail some of the amazing benefits from it.

Though some people want to run outside, winter weather is inevitable and will make it more complicated.

There are still certain risks that come from running out in the cold weather.

Take the time to think more about these potential risks before you want to go outdoors.


Is It Bad to Run in the Cold?

Running in cold weather is healthy as long as you have a smart plan.

Although there appears to be no consensus about how cold it is too cold to run outdoors, use your common sense and take your ambitions, comfort, and wellbeing into account.

Some runners call it to stop when the thermometer crosses 0 degrees Fahrenheit, so if you have a medical problem, start with caution and consult with the doctor first.

Most of the problems caused by running in the cold include trouble breathing, particularly those with asthma or exercise-induced asthma, according to the American Council for Exercise (ACE).

Sometimes, too quickly inhaled winter air can cause bronchoconstriction due to the dryness of the air and decreased temperature.


How Cold is Too Cold to Run Outside?

Depending on the mood, running in winter weather can be either a refreshing feeling or a tense, stressful affair.

Some runners simply don’t like being out in cool temperatures and prefer to do more of their cold-weather running indoors.

Others relish the long-awaited recollection of sweating their miles in the sunshine, and the prospect of crisp wind chill and crunchy snow underfoot fills them with anticipation.

If the temperature is -20 degrees Fahrenheit (including the wind chill), remain indoors at all costs.

If the temperature is between that and 25 degrees F, you can run with proper cold-weather precautions, but if you have a medical condition, you should consult your doctor before going out to run.


Running in the Cold Lungs — Is Running in the Cold Bad for Your Lungs?

Your lungs can also be at risk.

The combination of dry, cold air and vigorous exercise can damage your airways.

Inflammation has been found in the lungs of cross-country skiers, who spend a lot of time outdoors exercising due to the nature of their sport.

More study, however, is needed to determine the best method for measuring and potentially mitigating the effects.

The main reason you can feel discomfort when running in the cold is that your lungs dislike the cold.

When you inhale air, your lungs humidify and heat it as it enters your body.

When you go outside in cold weather, you are putting a lot of cold air into your lungs.

This causes the airways to close and become annoyed by the cold, while also attempting to do their job of warming and humidifying as quickly as possible.

When it’s cold outside, there’s almost no moisture in the air.

If you don’t drink enough water, you can easily dry out your throat and lungs, causing them to crack and bleed.

Taking a hot shower immediately after your run will help prevent this.

It will not only help raise your body temperature but will also moisten your thirsty mucous membranes.

Aside from that, the most common physical danger you face when it’s cold outside is slipping and falling on ice.

If the temperature is below 32 degrees, I suggest covering your mouth with a mask or scarf.

This helps to heat and humidify the air you breathe in until it enters your lungs, lessening some of the pressure on your lungs and, as a result, the burning feeling you may experience.


Running in the Cold with Asthma

If you want to run for exercise, you may find it motivating to know that many professional runners suffer from asthma.

Although asthma symptoms make breathing difficult, you can engage in any activity as long as you control your asthma symptoms, according to the American Lung Association. 

In reality, running or participating in other forms of exercise on a regular basis will increase the amount of oxygen your body can use as well as your overall health.

Running safely with asthma often requires some attention to running conditions, as factors such as air quality and temperature may have an effect on the asthma symptoms.

Running is a form of exercise that can help you obtain a variety of physical health benefits, including increased stamina and helping in the prevention of excessive weight gain.

These results are beneficial to everyone, but particularly to those who suffer from asthma.

Adults and children with asthma can enhance their physical health, asthma control, and quality of life by engaging in regular exercise.

If you enjoy running, there are many compelling reasons to pursue your passion.

If you’re still uncertain, remember that research indicates that the prevalence of asthma in recreational and professional running is at least as high, if not higher, than the prevalence of asthma in non-athletes.


What to Wear When Running in the cold?

What to wear when running in the cold
Running in winter clothes

There is an endearing term sometimes applied to people living in cold environments, which is true here.

So, if you want to run outdoors when the weather is frosty, it’s important to have good clothes.

Always note that you’re going to warm up and start sweating, so keep that in mind as you get ready.

That’s where the layers come in handy.

Here are few tips for your basic outdoor running wardrobe.

You will need to vary some of it, depending on how cold the place where you live is:


1. Running Shoes

Be sure you wear running shoes that fit your foot properly.

If you’re wearing thicker socks in the winter, make sure your shoes fit in.

Look at the back of the shoes, too.

You want to make sure they’ve got enough stability to hold on to the road or the trail, so you don’t slide if it’s slippery from rain, snow, or ice.

2. Socks

Put the cotton socks back in the closet and pick socks that keep your feet dry and comfortable. Wool socks are a great alternative.

3. Jacket

Some runners choose the wind-resistant layer to the end. Depending on the weather, a waterproof jacket might be a suitable choice for you.

Pockets are a matter of personal taste, but mind, if you need to, they can be a good spot to stash your gloves temporarily.

4. Upper Body

Wool or technical cloth should be your preference for long-sleeved shirts that serve as a base layer to keep your body warm. As in your socks, resist cotton because it can get wet next to your body.

5. Running Pants

Many runners love to run in fleece-lined legging. In very cold temperatures, some runners lay a pair of tights under a pair of pants.


Benefits of Running in the Cold

Now, let’s talk about some of the benefits of running in the cold.


1. Running is Perfect for Preventing Weight Gain in Winters

Going to the gym is a struggle in itself, particularly during the winter months, and a treadmill at home can get tedious, which is why we enjoy running in cold weather.

It’s free, easy, and it’s never boring.

In the cooler months, we prefer to move less and eat more.

Running burns significant calories and is also an effective method for preserving and even reducing weight throughout the winter.

2. Running in Cold Will Make Your Metabolism Strong

If you believe in evolutionary theory, our bodies are engineered to maintain our fat reserves in the winter, slowing down our metabolism in direct reaction to our reduced rate of exercise.

Running in the cold challenges your body, avoiding this seasonal slowdown in metabolism and helping to sustain stable body weight.

3. Winter Is An Ideal Weather To Run

Believe it or not, in reality, cold weather is the perfect climate for your run.

The cooler the temperature, the lower the body’s heat pressure, making it much easier to run.

Running in hot and humid weather is incredibly painful for the body, and there is an explanation that most of the marathons are run in October and November.

4. You Can Burn More Fat In Cold

Chilly temperatures will turn unwanted fat into another form of fat that ultimately burns calories.

Think of it this way: The fat in your body isn’t the same thing. In between, there are white, brown, and shades.

White fat is what we generally think about when we think of excess body weight.

Brown fat is a metabolic tissue that burns calories, and there is a growing body of scientific literature that shows that the activity and sensitivity of our bodies to cold weather makes our white fat brown.

From this, you can easily conclude that running in cold weather can not only help you burn calories but can also improve your body composition.

5. It Relieves Your Stress and You Feel Good

When days are shorter and the temperature plummets, many individuals suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Running helps unleash potent hormones that help tackle stress, increasing pleasant moods during cold weather.

And having your run outside helps to improve your mindset even more: A research published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology showed that people who performed outdoor running showed improved enthusiasm, decreased feelings of stress, and were more likely to repeat their workouts.


Tips For Running in the Cold

Tips for running in the cold
Keep yourself hydrated, wear a reflective thing, checking out the weather forecast is some tips to consider before running in the cold

Don’t just tie your laces, jam a hat over your head, and head outside.

Take the time to train for your winter run.

I have mentioned some of the best tips for running in the cold.


  • Check your weather forecast. Check out how cold it really is, as well as if there is likely to be some rain or snow that might impact the safety status of your route.
  • Appropriately dress yourself up. Think of the layers. With multiple layers of clothes, you will eventually shed one (or more) of them as you warm up and start sweating. Then you should bring them back on when you need them, but you’re not going to get chilled.
  • Start slowly. If you haven’t been running a lot before now, avoid the urge to start a sprint right away. Spend a little time working up your stamina steadily.
  • Wear a reflective thing. If the sky is dark and cloudy, it could be difficult for drivers to see you. Attach a reflective tape to your running jacket or clothes.
  • Keep hydrated, man. You do not remember to drink water as much as you will in hot summer months, but your body still needs water. Drink a little beforehand and drink some water along the way for you.
  • Warm-up and cool down. Offer your body some time to adapt to both ends of the run.
  • Pay your attention to the weather. Track the wind and temperature in case you need to shorten your run.
  • Stop it if anything goes wrong. Whether your stomach is beginning to hurt, you’re feeling lightheaded, or you’re concerned that you may have strained a muscle in your knee, don’t keep moving on. Call the doctor if you are anxious.


Precautions of Running in a Cold Weather

Running outdoors at very cold temperatures can be exhilarating. But it can be dangerous for some people as well.

Let’s have a look at some of the basic precautions that you must take before running in cold weather.


1. You Might Feel Some Kind Of Pressure on Your Lungs

Your lungs can also be vulnerable.

A combination of dry, cold air and sustained exercise can place stress on your airways.

Research has reported inflammation in the lungs of cross-country skiers who, by the nature of their sport, spend a long time outdoors to exercise.

However, more analysis is required to identify the best way to quantify and ultimately reduce the effect.

2. Be More Conscious If You Have Any Heart Disease

People with a history of cardiovascular disease may want to be cautious about this.

Exercising outdoor when it’s very cold could theoretically trigger pressure.

Research shows that the cold could cause blood pressure to increase.

The mixture of mild and rapid or vigorous exercise has been found to be potentially hazardous to certain people with heart disease.

Have you ever heard of someone who suffered a heart attack after shoveling snow?

Research has demonstrated that this does and does happen.

3. Hypothermia

In addition, you can be susceptible to hypothermia if you’re outdoors for a long time during extremely cold weather, particularly if you’re not dressed appropriately.

With hypothermia, the body starts to lose heat quickly, which will decrease your body’s temperature and begin to impair your capacity to think and reason.

So, whether it’s very, really cold, or the wind chill is particularly cold, you may want to cut your exercise short.

Temps below 0°F (-17.8°C) could encourage you to choose to work inside a treadmill.


Bottom Line

There are many advantages to running in the cold.

The trick is to be prepared with the necessary winter clothing to keep you protected from the elements.

Conditions can also be volatile at times, especially during the winter season.

Check the forecast to see what the weather has in store for your operation.

While we’re on the topic of prevention, if you have any established medical problems, you should consult with your doctor before going for a winter run.

Although there are many factors to consider, it is well worth lacing up those shoes and running out into the fresh air.


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