January is a bit of a tough month for many reasons. Post Christmas you might find yourself feeling a bit lonely, strapped for cash or just fed up with the dark mornings and evenings. It’s common to want to start the new year with a resolution to get fit and go on a diet but you might be just setting yourself up to fail if you set unrealistic goals which will only add to the negative feelings.
Exercise is actually a great way to help get you out of a negative slump as well as helping you get fit, even a quick walk to the shops could help banish those winter blues.
What are the Winter Blues?
We can all feel a bit low in the winter months- shorter days and colder weather can impact your mood and make you want to hibernate away.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that tends to come on in the winter and go in the summer. Symptoms include persistent low mood, irritability, wanting to sleep more and difficulty concentrating.
If you feel like your symptoms are getting worse and are struggling to cope then you need to see your GP for more help.
Exercise Outside for Maximum Benefits
Most of us feel uplifted when we get outside in the sunshine, so when the weather is fine go for a brisk walk to get the blood pumping. According to research, a daily walk of just 30 minutes will give the best results in lifting your mood- try to go at midday for maximum daylight benefits.
Immunity Boost To Fight Colds
As well as the physical symptoms you get, colds can also affect your mental health. One of the reasons we are more susceptible to colds and flu at this time of year is because of the lack of sunlight- the main source of vitamin D. So try to get outside when the sun is shining to help lift your mood and get a much needed vitamin boost. Whether low vitamin D is a cause of depression is not known and studies have given mixed results.
Regular exercise also has a positive effect on your immune system to help you fight off those colds. Walking, running, aerobics and strength training are thought to be the most beneficial for boosting your immune system.
Research has found that just 10 minutes of activity can really help with your mental alertness but when the weather is bad you might not feel like venturing out. There are lots of ways to exercise safely inside, from following exercise videos to doing the housework- it all counts. Or why not join an exercise class such as Move It Or Lose It or Total Body Blast and meet some new friends while getting fit. As we get older we can feel isolated and lonely which can add to the negative feelings so getting out to an exercise class can help you build friendships and keep you accountable so you are less likely to quit.
Make sure you add in some strength training to your weekly exercise routine- not only does it support bone density and muscle strength but it also has huge benefits for heart health by strengthening the heart and blood vessels. Dr Sarah Jarvis is a big advocate of protecting your bones as you get older and she recommends regular exercise including lifting small weights to help protect against falls in older age.
Spring is not too far away and we’ll soon be enjoying longer days and warmer weather. In the meantime, make sure you wrap up warm and get outside for a nice walk to clear your mind and soothe your soul. Why not join us at one of our classes for a bit of cardio and a natter afterwards?
Contact Amanda for more information on any of our classes or 1-1 sessions.