Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Do Runners Burn More Calories in Winter or Summer?
There should be some benefit beyond heart, lungs, and the “feel good” to running outside on a frosty, winter day! Unfortunately, calorie burn is not one of them. The metabolism of fat or burning fat for energy, actually slows down when the temperature gets colder. This is a nice preservation feature if you’re a bear hibernating in a den, or stranded in a blizzard, yet it’s not the pat on the back you might be looking for if you’re trying to lose weight. While you might breathe heavier when initially heading out, respiration returns to normal fairly quickly. Heart rate is often lower, but not always during cold weather exercise. So no, running outside is not an effective strategy for accelerating calorie burn in the winter months. Despite all this I’ll continue to run outside on cold winter days and hope you do too. Conquering the elements is what we Northern runners do, neither wind, nor rain, nor sleet, nor snow…not quite super hero stuff but still empowering!