Winter is here!
It’s starting to get colder and when it is cold it is really hard to stay motivated about your health and fitness. We all want to go into hibernation – which includes snuggling up into a little ball and eating more food, especially junk. What is a better way to beat those winter blues and to stop you from eating unhealthy? EXERCISE!
Beating those Winter Blues
It is easy to go in a downward spiral during those colder months, as we aren’t seeing the sun as often, we are eating more food and we are spending most of our days inside. With depression being the number one psychological disorder in the western world, the prevenance is continuing to grow in all age groups (1). There are several medications that help with the treatment for depression which help us feel happy and upbeat, however research has found that physical activity has brought similar changes in the brain that is normally achieved through antidepressant drugs. That feeling of being at ease, happy and relaxed after you exercise is from the brain. The brain releases serotonin and dopamine, which are known as those ‘feel good’ chemicals. This can help reduce anxiety and depression and boost your general wellbeing and health (1). As well as helping with depression it also has been found to reduce your levels of stress through a decrease in the hormone cortisol (1).
Find the Sun
On those sunny winter days make sure you are out and about enjoying the strong winter sun. The easiest source of vitamin D we can obtain is from our bare skin in the sun. So get moving outside in the sun, to keep your immune system strong, keep your bones nice and healthy and enjoy being outdoors instead of cooped up inside.
Aging and exercise;
Aging is a part of a natural process and there are multiple factors that can play a role in this process, some that we can even change, one being exercise! Exercise contributes to ‘successful aging’ due to the role it plays in both prevention and control of chronic diseases affecting the quality of life and life expectancy. Exercising will decrease the risk of death, lower the risk of osteoporosis and increase longevity! (2)
It’s time to get off the couch, get out and exercise and have fun!
1. Effects of Exercise on Anxiety and Depression Disorders: Review of Meta- Analyses and Neurobiological Mechanisms. Mirko Wegner, Ingo Helmich, Sergio Machado, Antonio Nardi, Oscar Arias-Carrion, Henning Budde. CNS & Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets, 2014; 13 (6): 1002 DOI: 10.2174/1871527313666140612102841
2. Gremeaux, V, Gayda, M, Lepers, R, Sosner, P, Juneau, M and Nigam, A, (2012), “Exercise and Longevity,” Maturitas. 2012 Dec;73(4):312-7. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2012.09.012. Epub 2012 Oct 11.