Beat The Winter Blues

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winter-blues-partyExercise to Beat the Winter Blues

What better way to cure winter depression and beat Seasonal Affective Disorder than to exercise your way through the winter? Not only will you keep the winter blues at bay but you’ll be getting in shape and keeping fit at the same time and as they say, summer bodies are made in the winter :-)

There are plenty of ways to stay active and prevent weight gain during the winter.  When you’re busy and tired it’s easy to put off exercise until tomorrow, but sticking to a fitness routine consistently is vital if you want to stay in shape and take care of your health because remember its not just about appearance its about caring for the body you live in!

Just think about all of the effort that you put into your health and fitness over the summer with bootcamps, 1-1 training, running etc.  It’d be a shame to undo all of your hard work by sitting around feeling miserable all winter. 

Exercise Can Help Cure Seasonal Affective Disorder

Keeping up the motivation to exercise on a cold, wet winters day instead of relaxing at home is difficult However, in addition to piling on the pounds, slowing down physically can have the unwanted side affect of bringing you down psychologically.  And at a time when the weather is lowering our spirits we need to take practical measures to stay active and happy. 

Reasons to Exercise Regularly this Winter

1. Weight Loss

With the imminent influx of christmas foods almost upon us we all need to balance out the increase in available calories with a huge dose of will power or some seriously energetic workouts.

To maximise your calorie burning potential you should participate in 30 minutes to one hour of vigorous exercise 3 – 5 x per week.

As a guide you should feel like you are working hard; your heart rate and body temperature will increase, as will your breathing will become more rapid.  If it feels like exercise then it is exercise.

2. Positive Body Image to Combat SAD

Exercise can make you feel better about yourself by optimising your physical condition and helping you to reach a healthy weight.

For this I recommend a combination of resistance exercise o tone your muscles and cardio to reduce your body fat percentage.

4. Exercise to Increase Blood Flow

During the festive season, we place an even greater toxic burden on our poor liver and it could really do with some support.  Moderate exercise increases the blood flow to the liver thereby improving its ability to detoxify waste.

Try to choose an activity that increases your heart rate but make sure that you can still hold a conversation. i.e. brisk walking, gentle jogging, swimming or cycling  

6. Improved Immunity 

We all need protection from the germs that are circulating around the office or being brought home from school by our children.  Regular moderate exercise will boost immunity by improving lymphatic and cardiovascular circulation.

However, the effects of exercise on your immune system are short lived and in order to optimise these effects it is important to exercise regularly.

A daily 20-30 minute walk would be an ideal way to start – it would fit nicely into your lunch hour too!

Note: Regular vigorous exercise can place a higher burden on your immune system and adequate rest and recovery should be factored into your week.

7. Reduction in Stress Levels, Anxiety and Depression 

It is widely accepted in the health and fitness community that exercise has a positive effect on our mind body and spirit.  So let’s take practical steps to fight off those winter blues by increasing our activity levels.

If you are suffering from S.A.D , depression or stress, then some regular gentle exercise is one way to improve your overall sense of well-being.  One way that exercise improves our mental state is by removing the by-products of stress that surge through our bodies helping us to find inner calm.

8. Take a deep breath

Being cooped up with nothing but heaters to keep the air moving means fresh air is much harder to come by in winter! Generally, the air outside is healthier then that inside so going for a walk or run outside gives your lungs a chance to detox and breathe deeply without concern for breathing in other people’s bugs.

Work hard, Play hard and enjoy your life!

If your motivation is lacking why not book in for a consultation with a Personal Trainer?  Most offer a free session which is designed to instruct you on the best way to achieve your health goals.  A good Personal Trainer will help you to increase your confidence and achieve your goals through offering sound exercise and nutritional advice.  Qualified Personal Trainers should be registered with the Register of Exercise Professionals and be trained to Level 3 standard.