Does Walking In The Cold Make You Tired?

As cold temperatures start to creep in we find ourselves wanting to stay inside more and more. Yet, it’s still important to get outside and take walks even in the winter weather. But is it true that walking in the cold makes you tired?

Walking in the cold can indeed make you tired. This is primarily because your body has to work harder in the cold weather as it is working to keep you warm enough as well as exercising through walking.

If you are properly armed with warm clothes and feel comfortable then walking in the cold will not make you significantly more tired than walking in mid-range temperatures. When you are properly dressed for the cold your body will not have to work extra to keep you warm. Thus, you will not lose extra energy when it gets too cold. But, the situation changes when you are not well-equipped.

How temperature affects tiredness

As the temperature decreases, your body has to work harder to maintain a constant internal temperature. This is accomplished by constricting blood vessels and shivering. Both of these activities require energy, and therefore can make you feel tired. In addition, if you are not used to walking in the cold, it can takes some time for your body to adjust. This can also lead to feeling tired.

Walking in the cold can be invigorating and refreshing, but it can also make you tired. If you are not used to walking in the cold, start slowly and build up your tolerance. Make sure you are well-equipped with warm clothes so that your body does not have to work extra hard to keep you warm. And finally, listen to your body – if you feel yourself getting too tired, take a break.

The type of tiredness you experience when it’s cold outside is different than the kind you feel when it’s hot. When it’s hot, your body is trying to cool itself off by sweating. This uses up a lot of energy and can lead to dehydration which makes you feel even more exhausted. In the cold, your body is trying to keep warm which uses up energy, but doesn’t lead to dehydration. Instead, you may find yourself feeling sleepy or sluggish.

Read also: Can the weather make you tired?

Does walking make you tired?

Walking is a form of physical exercise and it is bound to make you tired irrespective of the temperature outside. But it is difficult to tell how much of it should actually deplete your energy reserves. For example, if you are not fit or have any muscle injury or don’t have the habit of walking, then you will drain out more easily. Also, if you have walked for a long time or covered a long distance by foot, you will be quite tired.

Does walking in the cold make you tired?

With so many factors adding up, winter fatigue is inevitable. The days are generally shorter in colder months, and this is specifically true for the countries in the northern zone. And reduced exposure to sun also brings down the circadian rhythm, paving the way for less sleep hormone melatonin production. Thus, you will more prone to become tired in the winter months. Sunlight is also the most trusted source of Vitamin D.

Getting only ten minutes of sun exposure can work wonders on keeping up with your daily Vitamin D requirements. But procuring those 10 minutes of sunlight in the winter is a real challenge. This can wreak havoc on your mood and energy levels.

Walking in the cold can cause tiredness. Your body has to work harder in the cold weather as it is working to keep you warm enough as well as exercising through walking. Our muscles produce a lot of heat energy simply by contracting. And when major sets of muscles have to contract, release and repeat the same pattern for a long time when you are walking, it will invariably cause exhaustion.

When our body is exposed to much-reduced temperature, intensity, or high altitude, it causes a sudden need for energy. And the first line of supply comes from the breaking of glycogen which is a form of carbohydrate present in the muscles. According to Julie Lois, RD, Sports Dietitian working with Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, glycogen is the primary source of the stored energy in the human body which is available for immediate use. So when you are walking in the cold weather, it is imperative to optimize the intake of nutrients both before and after the exposure.

Cold weather exercise requires that your body uses more energy just to keep your body temperature, and in particular your core temperature, stable. On top of this, as the temperature drops and you feel cold your muscle function will slow and require more energy to move.

People indulging in long, physically exhausting, activities when the weather is cold are at an increased risk of developing a condition referred to as ‘hiker’s hypothermia’. When you are exposed to cold weather, along with an increased altitude, this leads to loss of body heat. This should be balanced by the various physiological responses along with clothing and other strategies.

The body’s primary defense mechanisms against hypothermia include peripheral vasoconstriction along with shivering. With peripheral vasoconstriction, the thermal insulation of the body improves rapidly. This, in turn, slows down the loss of heat from the body. On the other side, shivering boosts thermogenesis and wards off the loss of body heat.

Read also: Why does fresh air make you tired?

What to do to avoid getting tired when walking in cold weather?

Wear warm clothes

When you’re walking in cold weather, one of the best ways to avoid getting tired is to wear warm clothes. Wearing insulating layers will help keep your body warm and stop you from losing heat. It’s also important to make sure that your head, hands and feet are covered, as these are the parts of your body that lose the most heat.

Wearing a hat is a good way to keep your head warm, and mittens are better than gloves for keeping your hands warm. Shoes or boots with a good grip are also essential, as walking in icy or slippery conditions can be very tiring.

If you take these precautions, you’ll find that you’re less likely to get tired while walking in cold weather.

Eat before you go

The number of calories you will burn while walking in the cold weather is dependent on a number of factors. These include the level of physical fitness, body composition, age and body weight. Having a good meal containing a lot of protein and carbohydrates around two-three hours before setting out to walk in the cold can give optimal energy to the body.

Take the right food:

You can munch on a peanut butter sandwich, energy bars, oranges and bananas to help you cope with the depletion of energy. For refueling the energy stored in the muscles, you can have low-fat chocolate milk, Graham crackers, or fruits and yogurt smoothie. This will keep your glycogen stores topped up and provide you with enough energy for your exercise.

A study conducted on Navy SEALs taking part in cold weather training showed that their bodies struggled to put up with the energy demands of the body. It further showed how the energy expense and intake can be balanced with carbohydrate-rich foods. Even though this could an extreme instance for regular walkers, it is certain that taking nutrient-dense food can replenish the energy reserve and keep tiredness at bay.

Stay hydrated

If you are dehydrated while walking in the cold, you will run the same risk as it would be during physical exhaustion in heat. But when it is cold, the situation is even more dangerous as you won’t feel thirsty. Reduced temperature also reduces thirst by around 40 percent.

While you are breathing in dry and cold air, the body warms up to humidify the air. This means, as you breathe out, the vapor that you exhale is actually loss of fluid. So, no matter whether you are walking in cold or hot weather, consuming 16 ounces of water for an hour of physical activity is a good rule of thumb.

Conclusion: Does Walking In the Cold Make You Tired?

Walking in the cold can indeed make you tired. This is primarily because your body has to work harder in the cold weather as it is working to keep you warm enough as well as exercising through walking.

Read also: Pros and cons of sleeping in a cold room.