Looking Great

The Big Chill

Three surprising benefits of cold weather

Temperature dropping outside? Instead of curling up by the fireplace, consider bundling up and heading outside for a brisk walk or a snowy adventure. Why? Chilly weather is good for the body – and the soul.

“Remember how your grandmother told you not to go outside or you’d catch a cold?” asks Dr. Frieda Madison, a wellness coach. Well, it turns out that the opposite is true. “Colder weather can actually help reduce your chances of getting sick,” she says. “The truth is, enduring colder temperatures can actually be great for your health – and state of mind.”

Here are three surprising benefits of cold weather that will have you heading for the great outdoors.

Benefit 1

Mental clarity

Having trouble focusing? Put on your parka and take a brisk walk around the neighborhood. A study from Stanford University found that enduring cold temperatures helped people perform
some cognitive tasks, such as making decisions and reacting calmly during emergencies, with more control. And it turns out that summer weather can have the opposite effect. People are actually less inclined to tackle complicated tasks as the temperatures climb, because the body uses more glucose (which provides your brain with fuel for reasoning) to keep its temperature down.

Benefit 2

Better skin

Instead of opting for a weekly facial in the wintertime, try exercising outside or going for a brisk jog. That’s because moderately cold temperatures constrain blood vessels in the skin, making it less prone to redness and swelling. Plus, your skin produces
less oil in the winter, so you might experience fewer breakouts. Another trick that might seem counterintuitive in the winter but is effective: Use cold water, rather than hot, to wash your face. Cold water helps tighten your pores, which will prevent them from getting clogged. (That’s why dermatologists often swear by cold showers.)

Benefit 3

Burn more calories

A wintertime workout can be a supercharged version of your normal exercise session, since your body is working harder to keep its core temperature regulated. As a result, a cold weather workout can maximize your caloric burn. Just be sure to dress for the temperature outside. Most athletes find that dressing in layers is the key to staying comfortable. As your body warms up, simply shed the layers you no longer need.

©Andrii IURLOV