Almost everyone can work out safely in cold weather. In fact, scientists have suggested no temperature is too low to exercise outdoors as long as you suit up to minimize cold-weather risks.1 And though it’s obvious that high-intensity workouts—like boot camp training or running—are better choices for staying warm than, say, yoga, your body will work to maintain a core temp of 98.6 degrees no matter what you’re doing.
“I still remember working out in 9 degrees,” says Anthony Burdi, co-founder of The Rise, a year-round outdoor workout group based in New York. “Afterward we said, ‘I can’t believe what we just did!’ But it’s not as bad as you think.”
Exercising outdoors when the temperature drops below freezing does come with annoyances. But that runny nose is a good sign. The inside of the nose moistens to humidify the air we inhale, and the excess fluids creep out our nostrils. As for that icy air hitting your lungs? It’s basically impossible for freezing air to damage your lungs. Try wearing a scarf and keep layers on your chest to feel warmer as you inhale.
There are a few groups of people who should be cautious before trekking outdoors for a mid-winter run. If you have asthma, the cold, dry air can trigger lung tightness and asthma attacks while exercising. And if you’ve been diagnosed with poor blood circulation or heart problems, it’s best to check with your doc first before hitting the frozen pavement.
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