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