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How can exercise help you beat the winter blues?

February 19, 2020
Man jumping in the sunset

Exercising is one of the best natural forms of stress relief which can have a positive effect on your mental health to help beat those winter blues! It’s also one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, but most people fail to stick to it. We often get too ambitious when it comes to setting fitness goals, but this doesn’t have to be the case! The NHS claims that walking just one hour every day can help you cope with the winter blues. So whether you are new to exercise, or a pro, it’s important to keep active during those colder months to ensure you are looking after both your mental and physical health.

How does exercise affect your mood?

Research has found that exercise affects the chemicals in your brain. A good workout can increase your serotonin levels and release endorphins, which leaves you feeling good. Exercise is also a great way of relieving any tension or worries because it reduces stress hormone levels like adrenaline.

Getting up and moving is also a great way to distract your mind from negative thoughts. However, it can be hard to find motivation when you are feeling blue. Try thinking about ways of exercising that you find fun like cycling, swimming or even dancing. Or if you workout every day, why not mix up your exercise routine to keep things fresh and exciting?

Lastly, exercising in the morning is a great way of increasing your energy levels for the day ahead. This can help put you in a positive mood which can be sustained throughout the day to help prevent those winter blues from creeping in.

Alongside exercising, here are 5 more ways to overcome the winter blues:

1.Set realistic goals

We all intend on keeping our New Year’s resolutions, however after 6 months, 46% of people who make a resolution actually stick to it. This can have a negative affect on your mood as you may feel like a failure if you don’t reach your targets. Therefore, setting small goals that you can actually achieve is the key to fighting those winter blues.

For example, if you have never been to a gym before, it may be unrealistic to say you are going to start going every single day. Instead, set a goal to go to the gym at least once a week, then steadily increase your visits once you become more comfortable. This can help boost your mood because you will see a steady improvement in your fitness journey, rather than setting too big of a target that you are having difficulty reaching.

Read our blog on Fitness Goals You Can Stick To for more guidance on how to set achievable New Year’s resolutions.

2. Get out and socialise!

We know it’s cold during the winter, but that shouldn’t stop you from going out and visiting your friends! Even popping out for a quick coffee and a catch up can be a great way to boost your mood! It’s also a great opportunity to check in with your friends who may be feeling the winter blues too.

You can also broaden your horizons and meet new people. Why not join a group exercise class and workout with people one day a week instead of only exercising solo? This is a great way of socialising with people, whilst keeping on track with your fitness goals!

3. Make sure you get enough vitamin D in winter!

The sunshine is few and far between in winter. We only experience 8 hours of sunlight in January, compared to 17 hours in the summer. This means you have to go out of your way to catch those rays! Grab your winter coat and take a stroll at lunchtime, or wear your thermals and go for a run. This can help the body to get vitamin D naturally through exposure to sunlight.

Vitamin D helps to regulate calcium for healthy bones and boosts the immune system. However, it can also have a big effect on your mood. Some people with a vitamin D deficiency experience symptoms of depression and anxiety known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Going outside and soaking up the sunshine can help the body synthesise vitamin D in order to improve your mood during those shorter winter days.

4. Take a break from tech

On a cold winter’s day it can be very tempting to stay inside and watch TV or play with your phone all day. However, a little detox from your screens can do a world of good! Try switching off for an hour before bed to help you relax and unwind. This can lead to a better night’s rest which will leave you feeling energised for the day ahead!

Or why not use tech for good? Technology has been used to enhance exercising for a while, so why not use that screentime to get moving? Whether following a workout video, playing a sport based video game, or following a fitness influencer, you can use your gadgets to get inspired!

5. Eat a balanced diet!

Eating healthily is important all year round, but can also help to fight those winter blues! January is a great time to explore new diets, whether you want to try Veganuary, or turn to a wholefoods diet to eat more organic produce. The better you eat, the better you feel, especially if you get a good amount of nutrients into your diet that are great for the body. The amount you eat is also very important. Ensure your diet remains balanced with not too much or too little of each food group!

All our TREK products are made from 100% natural ingredients so are a great snack to add to your diet. They are also a great source of vegan protein to provide you with the energy you need to achieve your New Year’s fitness goals!

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