If you want to know how to beat the winter blues, you’ll find the answer through exercise. The winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder, generally makes an appearance when the weather starts turning cloudy and cold. Medical professionals attribute the condition to a lack of sunlight in the wintertime. Symptoms associated with SAD include:
- Problems with concentration;
- Low levels of energy;
- Decreased interest in daily activities;
- Insomnia or oversleeping;
- Overeating; and
- Anxiety or irritability.
Exercise Benefits you Physiologically as well as Psychologically
Fortunately, many of the aforementioned symptoms can be reduced or eliminated by incorporating exercise in your day-to-day activities. Not only does exercise prove to benefit you physiologically, it also lessens the effects of winter depression too. That’s because endorphins are released during a workout session, which combine with the brain’s receptors to minimize pain. These same hormones also create a feeling of euphoria after at least thirty minutes of activity. An example, of this reaction is “runner’s high,” which is often experienced by runners who run for a long time or cover lengthy distances.
The Advantages of Developing a Workout Routine
Indeed, exercise is a good antidote for a depression disorder like SAD as research suggests that it works as well as certain antidepressant medicines. The activity during a workout also speeds up the metabolism and increases one’s level of energy. Therefore, adding exercise to your daily schedule puts anxiety at rest, reduces feelings of stress, and boosts your self-esteem. In addition, people who work out regularly find they sleep better too.
Recommended Exercise Activities
While most types of exercises will aid in beating the winter blues, recommended activities that just about anyone can include:
- Low-impact aerobics;
- Walking or jogging;
- Yoga; and
SAD sufferers can benefit too by joining a workout group or exercising with a friend, which provides emotional benefits as well.
Talk to a Doctor First if you Have a Medical Condition, Such as Diabetes
Basically, you can start exercising as early as tomorrow if you are in good health. However, if you currently have a medical condition, such as heart disease or diabetes, check with your doctor first before you embark on a daily program of working out.
Determine your Fitness Goals
Think about the types of physical activities you like. Which kinds of exercise can you easily include in your daily schedule? Besides beating the winter blues, what types of goals do you want to realize? Do you want to lose weight? Or, is toning and strengthening your muscles your objective?
Where to Find Exercises and Workout Routines Online
Make sure that the activities you choose are ones that you want to do. Make your workout interesting and fun. An exercise routine does not have to be expensive either. You don’t have to buy a health club membership or costly exercise equipment in order to reap the associated benefits. Instead, look online for your workout routines. Check out the programs on the Web, such as those featured on such sites as Workout Box or Workoutroutine.com.
Hey guys, I appreciate this post is a little old now but I’ve just came across it while looking at effective ways to tackle the ‘Winter Blues’ or Seasonal Affective Disorder to give it it’s proper title. Exercise and getting outdoors is definitely the first thing you should be trying to do but there are many people that suffer with this ailment that can’t get out and about.
I’m primarily referring to less abled bodied or elderly people whom effective amounts of aerobic exercise can be very difficult to achieve. Seeing as this website comes up very highly on the search engine when searching for SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder or Winter Blues I feel that you should be a bit more ‘inclusive’ with the information given. For those not able to get out of the house and exercise they should really be looking towards full spectrum sun lamps and vitamin/mineral supplementation to gain a bit more cognitive control and elevate their mood.
Supplements to look for would be a good quality Vitamin D (preferably D3) as the major cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder is a deficiency of Vitamin D due to the reduced sunlight. As there are few foods that provide adequate levels of Vitamin D, supplementation is absolutely key. Another that has been showing excellent results is the use of 5-HTP.
A relative unknown when compared the your standard ‘letter vitamins’ it is one that I’d seek out as well. It helps by working with the brain and central nervous system to produce more much needed Serotonin. This raises your mood and has also been shown to help regulate your sleep patterns and circadian rhythms. Essential stuff really. All too many people jump straight to prescription medication before trying the above, much to their detriment unfortunately!
I hope this additional information is of benefit 🙂
Thanks for these insights! Indeed, not everyone is able to exercise and the treatment of SAD needs a holistic approach. You’ll find an introduction to the main treatment methods here: http://www.beatthewinterblues.info/about-sad/sad-treatments/ You can read more in the individual blog posts