The holidays might be over, but winter is still in full-swing. Cold temperatures and shorter days make it tougher to stay active, but keeping your routine of cardio exercises in the winter can help you stay healthy—physically and emotionally.

 Do you still need more motivation to get out of your warm living room and out into the cold? Well lace up your running shoes, fill up your BlenderBottle®, and start putting foot to pavement! Here are 4 of Shape's top reasons to embrace cold weather cardio exercises:

1. It's the ideal weather for running.

It might not be fun, huffing and puffing in below-freezing temperatures. But the fact is that the colder the weather, the less the heat stress on your body. Running naturally warms you up, so if you can get through the initial shock, you'll warm up quickly... just keep moving!

2. Running is a great tool for preventing winter weight gain.

We've all fallen victim to winter weight gain. When it's cold outside, nothing sounds more appealing than curling up in front of the fire. You can still do that—just balance it out with some cardio exercises. The only thing that feels better than a relaxing evening inside is a relaxing evening inside after a nice run.

3. Running can help prevent SAD.

As the days become darker and colder, lots of people suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD). Studies show that running in the cold produces more than just happy thoughts of spring weather. It releases hormones in the body that combat depression, create positive mood states, and give you more energy.

4. Running will keep your metabolism going strong.

Ever feel like hibernating through January and February? We might not sleep through the winter like bears, but our bodies are programmed to operate with a slower metabolism. Staying active with a steady routine of winter cardio exercises actually "tricks" your body into keeping a higher metabolism rate. Finally, don't forget to warm up properly before you head out into the cold! Exercising in the cold has lots of benefits, but the cold shock can put a lot of strain on your muscles  

How do you stay active when the weather gets colder and less welcoming?  

Photo Courtesy of: Clark Maxwell

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