Jennifer Chesak finds out that
running in the cold is more beneficial than warm weather running  

 Jennifer Chesak finds out that
running in the cold is more beneficial than
warm weather running  

Running is healthy, but in cold weather running is even healthier! 

News Published 2024.01.10 | Chloe Yu 

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Jennifer Chesak, a medical journalist, discovered that running in the cold is more beneficial to health than running in the heat. She and her colleagues found that while running overall provides cardiovascular benefits regardless of the season, cold weather running poses further specific advantages such as increased calorie burning through brown fat activation and a mental boost. 

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She explained that during cold weather, the body engages in distinct physiological processes. 

The activation of brown fat, a distinct subset of fat tissue that burns calories more efficiently and produces heat than white fat, is one of the biggest features of this. She mentioned that cold weather running induces “thermogenesis”, a process where the body generates and maintains heat, therefore leading to the activation of brown fat. She inferred that this can contribute to weight management and metabolic health, as the increased calorie burn not only supports weight loss goals but also enhances overall metabolic efficiency. This would become an effective strategy for optimizing their metabolism and maintaining a healthy body composition. This interaction of metabolic processes demonstrated how the human body is particularly adapted to lower temperatures, emphasizing the benefits of engaging in running during the winter season. 

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She also stated that cold weather running triggers the release of endorphins and serotonin, leading to a heightened sense of well-being known as the “runner’s high”. This neurological response acts as a natural mood booster, countering the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during winter. She found that this mental benefit can extend beyond the immediate workout. Regular participation in this outdoor activity can become a powerful tool for managing stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms, making the sport a holistic approach to overall well-being. 

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Running in the winter may require proper preparation such as a dynamic warm-up to alleviate stiffness, layering clothing for temperature fluctuations, and choosing moisture-wicking materials to manage sweat. Nevertheless, Jennifer underscored the significance of running in winter, by stating that it is a  highly advantageous activity in terms of physical and mental health. Put another way, although it is also important for people to approach it cautiously based on their comfort level and health goals, running in the cold can be a rewarding activity that helps the body and the mind. 

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Chloe Yu  (