Why exercising in winter is so important

(NC) When it gets cold outside, our natural instinct is to stay indoors, but physical activity is a great way to keep off the weight gain that comes naturally at this time of year and banish the blues that can come with the shorter days.

“Like most creatures, our bodies are designed to cope with the cold of winter by staying inside and packing on the calories to keep ourselves warm,” says Dr. Kevin Velicaria, M.D. family medicine. “Couple that with any recent holiday over-indulgences and you have a recipe for weight gain that’s hard to get rid of come spring.

Fortunately, staying active helps regulate the amount of calories that you take in during the winter and has the added benefit of boosting your mental health by fighting off the winter blahs. Velicaria adds that going outside also exposes our bodies to the sun for some much-needed vitamin D.

Another advantage comes from the cold-and-flu fighting benefits that exercise offers. Studies have shown that regular exercise boosts our immune systems, helping our bodies fight off any germs we’re exposed to at this time of year.

Still, Velicaria cautions us to pace ourselves. In a rush to accomplish new year’s resolutions, he’s seen many gyms across the nation fill up with people who try to do too much, too quickly and wind up getting hurt.

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