The longer winter draws on, the more daunting it can be to find motivation to get up and move. The ‘winter blues’ has hit most of us all at one point or another – the mood shift some experience during the colder, darker days of winter that make us feel more lethargic and gloomy. While your natural instinct will tell you to stay inside and just long for the days of spring – studies show that you can actually fight the blues away.
Experts often refer to exercise as nature’s anti-depressant because studies show a strong connection between exercise and mental-health, particularly those who struggle with depression or anxiety. Participating in moderate exercise for just 30-minutes at least 5 days of the week can show a significant change in your bodies production of endorphins and serotonin, which are both known as ‘mood-boosters’.
It can often be hard to come up with something to do when you really just want to stay inside. If you have a gym membership, you don’t have to worry about this too much! However, it can still be hard to get yourself into the gym. Ask the gym staff for the group fitness schedule and try to find a class that matches up with your availability so that you can make a class a routine-part of your week throughout the winter months. Classes are a good way to plan your workout time for the week ahead of time and also provide great accountability, increasing your chances to show up.
If you don’t have access to a gym, getting outside is another great natural therapy. Vitamin D, provided through sunshine, can help strengthen your immune system, boost positivity, and long-term has been shown to help prevent high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer.
Working out at home is also a great option, even if you are limited on space. There are so many great bodyweight or dumbbell-only workouts available to you free online through websites such as Instagram, YouTube, or Pinterest. Finding a workout program and printing it out to keep by your gym mat at home is a great way to keep yourself on track and break a sweat inside!
While exercise is important all year long – the winter months should become a top priority. Not only will it help fight the seasonal depression many face, but winter is also generally the time that we are drawn to more ‘comfort-foods’ and can use baggy, warm clothing to cover-up a sudden weight gain. Making your health a priority throughout the entire year can take away the stress that comes upon us in summer-months or before a big vacation, and instead be something that we do as a lifestyle all year round.
Brittany Burress, B.S., ACE-CPT
Mega Gym Inc. Personal Training Coordinator
ACE-CPT, B.S. Food & Nutrition