Beating the Winter Blues with Fitness

Winter Sadness and Exercise

During this time of year, many people start feeling down. The days are shorter and colder. There is less sunlight and that means less time spent outside. Plus, there’s the stress of the holiday season to deal with. It’s quite common to experience sadness, sluggishness, lack of energy and various other negative symptoms during the winter. One way to improve your mood and beat the winter blues is with exercise. Staying active can help improve your mood and help you enjoy this season.

Here are a few tips for beating the winter blues with exercise.

  • Do an activity you enjoy. You don’t have to hit the gym or jog on a treadmill for an hour in order to get in shape. This winter, why not try an activity you enjoy? Skating, skiing, snowshoeing and winter hikes are all great activities that take advantage of the uniqueness of the season.
  • Go with friends or family. It can be tough to get up and get active all by yourself, especially when it’s cold and dark outside. To make it easier, why not bring some friends or family along with you? This will not just allow you to socialize but your friends will help motivate you as well!
  • Come up with a plan. It’s always a good idea to create a plan for staying active. This will keep you going and give you something to hold yourself accountable to.

How Exercise Helps

There are a number of ways that exercise helps improve your mood.

  • Studies have shown that regular exercise can help beat depression. This is because it stimulates chemicals in the brain that improve your mood.
  • Exercise also helps maintain a healthy body weight, which will make you feel happier and reduce sluggishness and fatigue.
  • Regular exercise has also been shown to reduce stress and tension, which can improve mood.

It’s important to distinguish the difference between the “winter blues” and depression. While winter sadness often means feeling down, tired or sluggish, depression is much more severe. It often includes persistent sadness that does not go away, an inability to enjoy things you once enjoyed, feelings of worthlessness and thoughts of death or dying. If you have any of these symptoms, you should speak to a medical professional right away. The same is true if your symptoms make it impossible for you to live your daily life.

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