Most people don’t think of winter as being synonymous with health. In fact, most of us are used to hearing about the risks of cold weather, such as weaker immunity and becoming more sedentary. But it’s not all doom and gloom. There are some surprisingly good benefits of cold weather!
Here are some advantages of the winter season (and cold weather in general) on our health.
1. Less Inflammation in the Body
If you’ve ever put an ice pack on an injured or swollen body part, you already have an understanding of how cold weather can help inflammation. You might notice less swelling or puffiness in your joints during the colder months.
2. Better Breathing from Fewer Allergies
Outdoor allergy sufferers can rejoice. During cold weather, plants aren’t making pollen that causes allergies for many people.
3. Boosted Brain Power
Did you know that colder weather can be a positive for your brain? Research has shown that summer has cognitive disadvantages compared to winter.
Our brains are spending more glucose on mental processes during the summer than during colder weather. So, cold temperatures might lead to clearer thinking and boost brain activity.
4. Feeling the Burn — Fat Burn
When your body is exposed to cold temperatures, it might lead to more brown fat, which burns more calories than white fat, the other type of body fat.
Also, your body can burn more calories in general during the winter because it works harder to maintain a core temperature. Exercising in cold weather can lead to a higher calorie burn, including the calories you burn for hours after.
5. Keeping Your Heart Extra Fit
Regular exercise is good for your heart because it can lower blood pressure and triglycerides while increasing your body’s oxygen levels. And working out when it’s cold gives your heart an extra workout — it must work harder to keep you warm.
While exercising in cold temperatures is okay for most people, be cautious if you have heart disease. Talk to your doctor first.
6. Fewer Disease-Carrying Pests
Most insects die during the winter, and that includes pests that carry diseases. You’re less likely to worry about bugs that could make you sick in colder months. It’s another nice benefit of cold weather.
7. Better Infection-Fighting Abilities
Less sickness during the winter? That might sound odd, as most of us experience more colds during cold months. However, the cold can actually activate the immune system, making it better at fighting infection.
8. More Excuses to Slow Down
Wintertime means spending less time out and about. We’re more inclined to spend evenings in and bundle up with loved ones. This can remind us to slow down and focus on the simpler pleasures in front of us, which is a plus, especially for those who struggle with winter or holiday blues.
9. Optimal Sleep Conditions
Experts suggest the best sleep temperature is between 60 and 67° F. This temperature range is best for comfort and promoting better REM sleep. So, when the numbers are low outside, you can spend less on your heating bill and more easily enjoy perfect sleeping temperatures.
The Bottom Line
Winter can be a challenging time for many reasons, but let’s not forget about the advantages, too. Focus on the pros above for a most pleasant season whenever the temperatures drop.