As we reach mid-November, the weather is turning from cool and crisp to cold and bitter. While fall weather is beloved by most, winter temperatures are almost universally hated. When walking to class on the slushy sidewalks, facing the frosty wind and freezing from head to toe, it’s hard to imagine that there could be any positive aspects of the harsh winter weather. However, there are some surprising benefits to braving the cold!
- Improved Cognitive Performance
Some studies have shown that our minds work better in the cold. There is evidence suggesting that our brains are more efficient at cooler temperatures and that we have enhanced mental control during the winter. Additionally, people have reported feeling more alert when it’s cold compared to when it’s warm.
- Reduced Warm-Weather Afflictions
People with seasonal allergies get a break during colder temperatures as pollen levels decrease. There are also fewer insects during the winter, so there is a reduced risk of catching diseases caused by mosquitos, ticks, and other pests.
- Better Sleep
The core temperature of our bodies naturally drops when we’re trying to sleep, so we fall asleep more quickly and easily when it’s cooler. Additionally, the sun rises later in the winter, so the darker mornings can facilitate a better sleeping environment.
- Healthier Skin
Cold weather constrains the skin’s blood vessels, leading to less redness and inflammation. Also, our skin is less prone to acne in the winter, since less oil and sebum is produced when the temperature is colder.
- More Effective Workouts
When we exercise in the cold, our endurance improves. Our heart strength increases since it needs to work harder, leading to cardiovascular benefits. Unlike working out in the spring and summer, heat and humidity are not an issue. In fact, being active in the cold can help us warm up.
Hopefully, remembering that there are some positives to colder weather will help as the temperatures dip below freezing!