Do you have the winter blues?
Winters surely have a cozy and comfortable vibe. However, when the weather changes from summer to winter and the temperature starts dropping, one might find themselves feeling lazy and lethargic. Most people tend to prefer snuggling up in a blanket than getting things done.
In some cases, this might be combined with a feeling of sadness and lack of motivation. With such a mood, it can be hard to concentrate on living a healthy lifestyle. Anyone who experiences such emotions during the winter is said to be having the “winter blues.”
What is the winter blues?
In medical terms, winter blues is called the seasonal affective disorder. Those who experience it tend to undergo depressive mood and feeling of fatigue and lethargy during the winter seasons.
According to various scientists, this feeling is due to how the human body functions in the presence of daylight. Usually, daylight is an indication to the body to wake up. Upon receiving it, the body stops the production of melatonin, which is the sleep hormone. Since winters have shorter daylight than summers, the body doesn’t get the indication to stop producing the sleep hormone, thereby making one feel lethargic and tired. This can hinder living a healthy and active lifestyle.
Some of the most common symptoms of winter blues include the following:
- A decrease in energy
- Feeling depressed
- Fatigue and lethargy
How can exercise help the winter blues?
For anyone who experiences winter blues, it is essential for them to take control of it. If not, then the winter blues might hinder everyday life and render one incapable of leading a healthy social life. One way to beat the winter blues is by exercising.
Exercising daily can help deal with winter blues due to a number of reasons. This includes:
1. Increases blood flow
When one exercises, the heart rate increases. This, in turn, increases the amount of blood being pumped through the circulatory system. The more blood is the pumped; the more oxygen is delivered to the various cells of the body. This helps in energizing the body and hence combatting fatigue.
2. Increases metabolism
When one exercise, calories are burned in the body. One symptom of winter blues is that people tend to overeat. To maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is essential to burn the extra carbs. This is what exercising delivers. The more one exercises, the more carbs are burned per minute, thereby increasing metabolism.
3. More oxygen reaches the brain
Another symptom of winter blues is that one’s alertness, focus, and concentration gets compromised. Exercise helps in overcoming this as well. As mentioned, exercising helps in pumping blood at a faster rate to all parts of the body. This includes the brain as well. With increased oxygen supply to the brain, all brain functions are enhanced.
4. Boost in mood
Winter blues is a type of a mood disorder. It is known to causes depression. During exercise, serotonin is produced in the body. This is a feel-good hormone that helps in improving mood. Therefore, once done with exercising, one is bound to feel happier for long stretches.
Exercise tips for winter blues
Here are some of the best exercising ideas that can help in preventing winter blues.
Swim it out
One of the biggest hurdles of exercising in the winters is that no one wishes to step out in the cold. A great way to continue exercising is by swimming. Since it is an indoor activity, it is much easier to do in winters. As it works the entire body and helps in burning calories and improving blood circulation, it is the best type of exercise.
Walk, jog and then cycle
This is a routine that might be uncomfortable to get into during the winters. However, if followed, it can be a great way to prevent winter blues. Begin by walking in the morning for a few minutes outside. Then slowly change it to jogging and increase the number of minutes you spend doing it. Finally, once you are comfortable with walking and jogging in the winters, challenge yourself by switching to cycling. This routine helps in improving muscle strength, enhancing mood and increases blood supply to the circulatory system.
Join a gym
The best way to exercise properly is by joining a gym. One of the big advantages of joining a gym is the wide array of equipment available to keep you motivated. The gym may include cardio machines, strength machines, weights, boxing kits and various functional training gear. It might be intimidating at first, but some gyms will have friendly experts on hand to help you use it all and it may be a great idea to hire a trainer as well.
Play seasonal sports
Exercising can be fun if one allows it to be. Enroll into a course of ice-skating or skiing. Not only do such sports allow one to have a rigorous workout but doing it with others help in boosting mood and hence reduces the feeling of depression and isolation.
Don’t let the winter blues bring you down. Before the disorder takes control, it is essential to take all the preventive measures possible to keep it at bay. No one likes feeling miserable during the winters.
However, due to the lack of sunlight and the body’s response to it, the feeling might seep in nonetheless. Rather than accepting it and spending winters curled up in a blanket, fight it out. Exercise. Get a hobby. Sit under the sunlight. Seek help from friends and family.
Don’t let the winter blues win.