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Wintertime workouts offer some surprising benefits

Doctors say in colder temperatures your heart doesn't have to work as hard, you sweat less and you use less energy.

MINNEAPOLIS — With the winter weather we've been getting, you're probably not thinking about going outside, much less working out there. But experts say you'll benefit a lot from taking your workout outdoors.

According to Harvard Medical School, winter workouts have more benefits than summer workouts.

For one, cold weather may improve endurance. Doctors say in colder temperatures your heart doesn't have to work as hard, you sweat less, and you use less energy.

Studies also show that exercising in cold weather can transform white fat (fat used as storage space for excess calories) into calorie-burning brown fat.

Plus, winter workouts help you get exposure to sunlight, which may help with seasonal affective disorder.

Fitness experts say exercises like walking, running and biking can build up a sweat, especially if it's snowy.

"One of my favorite things to do in the winter is to go for an easy jog or bike ride, but stop every couple minutes and do some bodyweight squats or lunges in place. That can really spike your heart rate a little bit and get some of that strength aspect into your workout," said Alec Blenis, a personal trainer at Life Time.

Check here for a list of warm-ups.

Another tip: wear layers and dress in clothing that you can easily take off and put back on. 

Also make sure you're protecting your head, hands and feet.

If the weather is just too much to bear, you can always find a gym to thaw. Life Time representatives say they have plenty of room for you and tons of classes to check out in the new year.

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