People are always worried about the weather. It is a topic of conversation and very boring small talk. People are obsessed with it. Is it going to rain this weekend? Are we going to be able to get that run in tomorrow morning before it rains? Will the event still be on if it storms? These are just a few questions centered on weather that bother people on a daily basis. People spend so much time and energy worrying about the weather. Rain frightens them and cold weather terrorizes them. Do we need to get this crazy about the weather? Isn’t weather just weather? The benefits of outdoor training far outweigh bad weather.
I don’t rule my life around the weather. Rain or shine I will be out there enjoying the outdoors. I do make some exceptions for extreme scenarios that would comprise my safety such as thunderstorms, blizzards, or floods. However, letting a little rain ruin your day is a poor use of your time. Not stepping outside all winter (unless it’s to get in your car) is a travesty. Cold weather training can actually be very good for you. I know people who only spend a few months a year outside because it is either too hot or too cold. This is absolutely crazy. There is no reason you should not get outside and enjoy some outdoor training.
Why You Should Get Outside
The benefits of outdoor training are numerous. Research has shown that perceived effort and motivation are increased with outdoor exercise. You enjoy outdoor training much more than training inside. It can keep you training and motivated for the next session. Getting outside can also increase your vitamin D intake. We don not get enough vitamin D sitting inside all day! This is essential for our health. Additionally, it has been proven to reduce stress, make us happier, and increase brain function. Check out all the research and science behind each of these claims.
Outdoor training can help us stay healthy and sane. It is a great way to increase health without doing too much extra. I know that I need to get outside even for just a half hour every day. I feel more relaxed and stress-free. Breathing the fresh air is great for my sanity. It is something that is a requisite part of my day. I get antsy when I sit inside too long.
Enjoying an outdoor ride
Cold weather exercise is also very good for you. There are many benefits including burning more calories, creating healthy fat, and strengthening your heart. Cold weather exercise is great for increasing fat burn and making your body hardier. Hot weather training is great in its own way. It can help you train harder and longer in any weather and decrease your appetite. Both cold weather and hot weather training can increase your mental fortitude allowing you train harder in any scenario. Training indoors does none of this. Get out there and use the cold and heat for your own good! Check out the references and science behind cold and hot weather training.
Changing your Mindset
To get outdoor training in, you need to change your mindset. The great outdoors is a playground where you can do all sorts of things. You can do everything in a gym outside including strength training. Think of the outdoors as your playground. Get out there and have fun training. Go explore a new trail or a new city. Outdoor training can give you the opportunity to diversify your training. Change the idea that the gym is the only place to exercise and get outdoors.
Outdoor lake swimming!
You also have to change your mindset around weather. There is no bad weather (barring extreme weather like thunderstorms). Realistically, you can train in any weather. I have run through snow, rain, sleet, and heat waves. Each brings its own challenges and own element of fun. Have I been unprepared for some it? Yes, but it still felt better to get out there. Many times training in poor weather can be more enjoyable. There are fewer people on trails or on the road. This creates an amazing experience where you feel like you are forging your own path, especially on trails. Exercising in the rain brings its own joy especially when it’s hot. Training in the snow is more like playing than exercising! Weather brings its own sort of diversity to training. Don’t be afraid to experience it!
Be Prepared for the Weather
Although outdoor training in bad weather can be a lot of fun, you should still be prepared. A miserable run through freezing temperatures can dampen any day. Make sure you have the right gear on for the weather. If you’re running you should dress like it’s 10 to 20 degrees warmer. Biking in cold weather means bundling up. I have had a few biking trips in cold weather which would have been much more enjoyable with warmer gear. You don’t have to get expensive sports clothing for this. Most winter weather gear will do.
Beaver sighting during some winter training
Don’t make your preparation overly complicated. Check the temperature before you head out. This will allow you to stay warm throughout your outdoor training. It will keep you coming back for the next training session. Don’t be afraid of rain or snow, prepare for it! Don’t make weather an excuse for not getting out there. Some of my favorite runs and rides have been in poor weather.
Outdoor Training to Feel Better Inside and Out!
Outdoor training is amazing for your health. Don’t let weather rule what you are going to do. Outdoor training is too valuable to ignore. People who train outdoors have been proven to be more consistent and more motivated. Ignore the weather and get out there. To get started training outside follow these steps:
- Realize the benefits of warm and cold weather training
- Change your mindset about weather along with warm and cold temperatures
- Be prepared for the weather before you head out
- Don’t make it too complicated
- Enjoy training in adverse weather and make it fun
Outdoor training is something I really enjoy. I could not live with training indoors forever. There are sometimes when you have to do it, but get outside when you can. Don’t be the person who is outside for two months a year. Outdoor training can change the way you think and improve your health. It’s important for creating a sustainable fitness routine. Don’t be afraid to run in the rain, train in the snow, or ride in the rain. You will thank yourself later.
What are your favorite kinds of weather to train in? Do you prefer to train outside? Have you seen the benefits of outdoor training firsthand? Let me know in the comments.
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