You’re lying snuggly under the covers, five thick layers safely protecting you from the unrelenting winter chill. But just as you roll over to drift off into your second bout of sleep, your alarm goes off, signalling that it’s 5am and time to hit the concrete for your morning run.

Is it really necessary, you ask yourself. Because as you peek your head out from under the duvet, your forehead is hit by the stabbing cold.

Instead of crawling back under the sheets, you might want to brave the chill and get to working out.

There are surprising benefits to getting your heart rate up when the temperature drops.

We take a look.

1. You burn more calories

According to Huffington Post, your body works harder to regulate its core temperature when out in the cold. This means you burn more calories when you work up a sweat outdoors than you would indoors.

2. You strengthen your heart

The chilly weather means the heart works harder to distribute blood to the various organs. Regular cardiovascular exercise strengthens the heart muscle during these workout sessions, writes Better Healthkare.

3. You stay alert – and happy

The lack of humidity and the stimulating aspect of the cold ensure you feel less fatigued and more energised. But that’s not all. As the body works harder to stay warm, the amount of endorphins produced also increases, which leaves you feeling happy.

4. You avoid the flu

Contrary to what many people think, being out in the fresh winter air won’t make you sick. Instead, working out in the cold air could actually prevent you from contracting colds and flu because exercise boosts the immune system. Being cooped up inside exposes you to more people who may be harbouring the season’s viruses.

So, what are you waiting for? Go on, get out there!

SOURCES: HUFFINGTONPOST.COM.AU, CHEATSHEET.COM, BETTERHEALTHKARE.COM