We recently posed the question on our Facebook page: Do you burn more calories if you exercise in a cold environment (like about 99% of the United States right now…)? Many people seem to think so, but what’s the truth? Let’s look at the cold, hard facts.The rate at which you expend energy when you’re basically doing nothing is called your basal metabolic rate. Exercise increases this rate, and helps burn calories and increase muscle, which can also lead to a faster BMR. The rumor is that by exercising in the cold and forcing your body to work harder to keep you warm, you’re burning more calories. But according to all the scientifically sound evidence out there, it just isn’t worth it. A great example was published in the New York Times in 2011. Dr. Wayne Askew of the University of Utah said quite simply that a more effective way to burn those few extra calories would just be to walk up and down some stairs!
In order to burn more calories by working out in the cold, you would actually have to get so cold that your body begins to shiver. Shivering is your body’s way of warming itself with all those involuntary muscle contractions. Not the most efficient method of burning calories. If you get cold enough, you lose capacity in fine motor control, and if you get get dangerously cold, you’re looking at hypothermia. Not a smart fitness routine.
A better, smarter fitness routine will involve safe, controlled, and regular workouts that don’t compromise your health. Gym workouts are great, group fitness classes provide fun and accountability, and home workout routines are as convenient as they get. Choose what works best for you, what will inspire you to stick with a routine and challenge you beyond your perceived limits. Of course, we highly recommend our shock-absorbing, supportive, and transportable fitness mats for your home workout space, or our personal exercise mats for the same quality in a smaller space.
Just do us a favor – stay warm.