The question that serves as the title of this piece is an excellent one, and something we get asked on a regular basis.
For some reason, people tend to be strong advocates for either “hot” or “cold” workouts, with very little meeting in the middle.
The short answer to the question is yes, exercising in cold weather is fine, but the details in a more in-depth answer might surprise you.
Advantages to Cold Workouts
There are two key advantages to exercising in the cold. The first is the fact that your body is better able to regulate its temperature, which enables you to work out for longer periods than you would normally be able to during the hottest months of the summer. A longer workout equates to more calories burned, which is always a good thing.
There’s also evidence that exercising in the cold helps your body convert unhealthy white fat to healthy brown fat, which provides a strong secondary benefit. As you’ll see in the next section though, there are advantages to working out in the heat as well.
Advantages to Hot Workouts
As with cold weather workouts, there are two advantages to exercising in the heat. The first is improved blood blow, which sends more oxygen and nutrients to every part of your body. That’s undeniably a good thing.
Second, and this is the part that might surprise you, working out in the heat can help you perform better when the weather starts turning cold. In fact, a recent study indicated that people who worked out in hot conditions and then shifted to cold workouts performed 6 percent better than people who worked out exclusively in the cold.
Ultimately then, the answer is this: Don’t use the cold weather as an excuse not to exercise! Stay active all year long if you want to reap the biggest benefit. Your body will thank you.