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Why We Love Running in Cold Weather

Heat is a non-issue.

There's nothing worse than trying to run in the peak of humid summer. (Can't. Breathe.) But in the fall and winter, you can stay comfortably cool for the duration of your run. Plus, when you're not stressin' about heat stroke, you're more able to focus on your stride and form.

You burn more calories.

When it's cold, your body produces more brown fat—a good fat that actually burns calories. (White fat is the kind you don't want.) More time spent outside this season = more brown fat.

You'll feel super accomplished.

Sometimes the hardest part of a workout is getting dressed, and that's never truer than when you have a toasty warm home to leave behind. But what may seem like an impossible feat will make you stronger both mentally and physically. So lace up those shoes, pull on those gloves, and head outside.

You'll fend off the winter blues.

Seasonal affective disorder (depression tied to change in seasons) is common in the winter. Hibernation doesn't help. Heuisler's advice? Write your run into your schedule and get outside on a consistent basis throughout the winter. Endorphins—and scenic snowy runs—can boost your mood.

You'll avoid winter weight gain.

It's easy to hide under your cozy sweaters all season long, but come spring and summer you'll just be left with feelings of regret for letting those months go to waste. Instead, sweat it out now. After a few months of hard work, your runs will become routine, and you'll be grateful when spring comes.

You'll feel energized and invigorated.

There's something about the cold, crisp air that just rejuvenates you. "As the body works harder to stay warm, the amount of endorphins produced also increases, leaving you with a stronger sense of happiness and lightness," says Heuisler.

You'll avoid those gym germs.

It's no shock that the gym is a breeding ground for germs, but that's especially true during the winter months, when people (a) are most likely to get sick and (b) more likely to work out indoors. Skip the gym altogether and head out for a solo run.

You'll be more prepared for your spring race.

Training in tough conditions better prepares your body for race day, says Heuisler. Spring race PR anyone?

Outdoor running is more strenuous than treadmill running.

"Running on uneven pavement and down hills—two things that just can't happen on a treadmill—use more muscles and strengthen your endurance more than a treadmill," says Heuisler. Plus you're less likely to stress about mileage, speed, and how much time you have left when you're not staring at a screen for the entirety of your workout.