Don’t let cold morn­ings put your out­door train­ing on ice. Stick it out for a cool head­start come race day

Men's Health (UK) - - News -

Win­try weather needn’t freeze your morn­ing car­dio. Grin and bear it for en­durance gains

Re­sist the urge to roll over – the frost on your win­dow sig­nals an op­por­tu­nity to short­cut the long route to maxed out en­durance. Re­search shows that dips in tem­per­a­ture cause your body to make sub­tle adap­ta­tions; blood ves­sels and ar­ter­ies nar­row, the heart and lungs work harder. An an­i­mal study from North­ern Ari­zona Uni­ver­sity found this re­sponse helps to de­velop the mus­cles’ aer­o­bic func­tion, which, in nor­mal peo­ple’s par­lance, means they’re able to re­ceive more oxy­gen dur­ing ex­er­cise.

Test sub­jects ex­pe­ri­enced a 34% in­crease in max­i­mal oxy­gen up­take (VO2 max) and an im­pres­sive 29% in­crease in run­ning speed over dis­tance af­ter sus­tained ex­po­sure to cold tem­per­a­tures – a re­sult the sci­en­tists ex­pect could ex­tend to your own car­dio ses­sions, too. Which makes a Novem­ber spent brav­ing dark morn­ings a worth­while pur­suit. Add to that the fact that train­ing when it’s Baltic light­ens the bur­den of sea­sonal af­fec­tive dis­or­der, while also boost­ing your im­mune sys­tem to guard against colds, and not only will you be train­ing more ef­fec­tively, but more con­sis­tently, too.

Ben­e­fi­cial though swap­ping a warm du­vet for an early park run is proven to be, the ma­jor­ity of men won’t main­tain mo­ti­va­tion as the ther­mome­ter plum­mets. So don’t wait to join the throngs of Jan­uary gym-go­ers – this is your chance to race ahead of the chas­ing pack. For­tune favours the cold.

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