With the cooler weather November is a great time to go outdoors for more intense workouts, especially for runners.  The breathing is much easier due to less humidity and you don’t have to struggle with heat exhaustion and dehydration summer can present.

Beat the winter blues by running fartleks, or doing speed work to improve time.  Many people battle depression during long winter months, but exercise will increase serotonin in the brain which is a natural antidepressant your body produces naturally.  The serenity of winter gives us a connection with the outdoor environment, decreases our stress level and helps us mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

We burn more calories in the cold.  Our body has to work harder to stay warm which increases metabolism and may increase brown fat burning cells.  The body has two kinds of fat burning cells, brown and white.  The white cells store calories and locate around the waist, thighs, hips, and glutes.  The brown cells have the super power to burn up the white cells.  Most of us do not have an abundance of these cells, but we can increase the amount of production and effectiveness by exposing ourselves to cold temperatures and vigorous exercise.

Running outside you are less likely to pick up germs in comparison to a gym. We are blessed to live in an area with a lot of fresh air with very little pollution.  I find the fresh, cold air invigorating and energizing.  Based on personal experience I acquire a healthier immune and respiratory system and deal with little to no winter illnesses.

Now that I have you thinking about the benefits let me remind you to start where you are.  If running fartleks is not where you are then may I suggest hiking?  I just hiked Hanging Rock State Park this past weekend.  The weekend before I hiked to the top of Fisher’s Peak and enjoyed the incredible view of fall, and watching hawks fly beneath me!  Stone Mountain is close by to name a few.  Grayson Highlands and trails off the Blue Ridge Parkway are awesome offering many options pertaining to distances and elevations.

If you dress appropriately you can still enjoy winter biking.  The New River Trail is gorgeous in the winter with so much exposed, including New River as a result of no leaves on the trees.

When our first snow comes go outside and enjoy!  Build a snowman, go sledding, and try cross country skiing on the trail if conditions are conducive.  Hiking in the snow is a wonder in itself.  Then treat the family to “snow cream.

If you are still opposed to outdoor exercise let me suggest personal training in the water through the winter.  I contract out with Carroll Wellness and also have access to the wonderful therapy pool.  I am the only certified water rehabilitation specialist in this area.  I offer water rehabilitation and water therapy which is extremely pleasant during cold weather.  You can stretch much more effectively due to the warmth of the water which causes your muscles to relax voluntarily.  You leave having used all muscles groups, totally relaxed with the same sensations of having been to a massage therapist.  The cost is $40 an hour and a $12 fee for use of the pool.  However, if you join CWC the fee for use of the pool is included in membership.  Only nonmembers pay the extra $12. The cost is low in comparison with other areas, but I want to bring this service to our area allowing people to learn the many benefits and effectiveness of water pertaining to fitness and its healing properties.  I teach with a passion from personal experience.   It is definitely a worthy investment as many are finding out.

With the holidays coming up we know we will be eating more and less healthier foods.  Please consider some of these suggestions for a more fit and fun winter.  Hope to see you outdoors this winter feeling less depressed, burning white fat cells by creating more brown, and breathing fresh air into your lungs!

Lastly, during the month of November we celebrate Thanksgiving.  Allow this to be a time to reflect on what we have to be thankful for.  I know we all have problems, but we all have something to be thankful for as well.  I am most thankful I know Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. Let us be thankful for family and good friends. I am thankful I live in America.  I am thankful for the quality of life we experience here in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  I am thankful for good health.  Let us keep an attitude of gratitude and hopefully lighten someone else’s load during the holiday season.  This will prove to be a health benefit for all.  Happy Thanksgiving from Masterpiece Fitness!