The winter-time blues impact more people than most of us realize. Less sunlight means less vitamin D, less time outdoors exercising, and more depression-like symptoms as the days get shorter. Symptoms include increased appetite and weight gain, less motivation, and more negative thoughts.
Whether depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder, one of the best ways to fight back is sweat sessions. If you feel you may have SAD or depression, first, talk to someone. Share how you feel with a trusted family member or a therapist. Second, get to working out to boost happiness. The sweatier a workout is, the more endorphins are released, which boosts the mood, if you happen to live in British Columbia try to find a personal trainer in Vancouver to help you with the progress of your oncoming workouts.
Working out also helps reduce stress, anxiety, and sleeplessness. Try one of the workouts to stave off depression or start to fight against it.
A Walk in Nature: Spending time outdoors is not a new cure for depression. The Japanese, in fact, call this Shinrin-yoku or a “forest bath.” The concept is to spend time walking and totally immersed in nature, away from stresses like cell phones and To-Do lists. The brisker the walk, the more endorphins produced, and more calories burned. However, to truly fight against sadness, going slower than a run provides time to contemplate and, essentially, “smell the roses.”
Think of it as “mobile meditation” with the added benefit of calorie burning and physical toning. Too much snow? Switch the ordinary hike with a snowshoe hike.
Lift Weights: Because strength training is about learning to control the body and master certain movements for the most effective workout, it forces participants to concentrate in the moment, putting their complete attention into the task. To boot, as regular lifting occurs, positive benefits in the body boosts confidence as well. Regularly lift weights for at least 10 weeks to begin to fully see the positive impacts, yet some benefits are hard to see.
Muscle mass helps defend against aging, increases metabolism, and can contribute to better cardio sessions. For newbies, contact a personal trainer to guide through the basics before throwing on the pounds, or consider trying Pilates.
Running: One of the simplest cardio activities is running. It requires running shoes and motivation to get out the door. No gym membership or special tools required. The benefit for fighting depression is the possible “runner’s high” that many experience. Generally, this is when an athlete pushes past what initially seems like the limit of his or her cardiovascular efforts. It is possible that this can be accomplished with other cardio activities, like road and mountain biking or cross country skiing.
The point is this- pushing oneself as far as one can go cardiovascularly, and then going further (as long as it is safe to do so) can release endorphins at such a rate that one feels a physical “high.” These endorphins will increase happiness and reduce pain.