Thursday, February 20, 2014

Is There a Cure for the "Winter Blues"?

This winter has been especially harsh for a majority of the U.S. population with record snow falls, artic wind blasts and plunging temperatures. But, hope is on the way!

There's only 28 days left in winter!

Until spring officially begins on March 19, you may be experiencing the "winter blues."  This is characterized by a lack of motivation, low energy and mild depression that many people experience during this cold season.

Is there a cure for the "Winter Blues"?  Exercise!

Hundreds of studies link regular exercise to a better mood. In fact, according to the Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School, "A review of studies stretching back to 1981 concluded that regular exercise can improve mood in people with mild to moderate depression.  It also may play a supporting role in treating severe depression."

Any activity - walking, doing the Zumba Fitness Dance Party DVD in your living room or playing Wii with your kids - can help alleviate symptoms, but exercising outside for 20 minutes at least three times a week in the fresh air and daylight is ideal.

Try adding these ideas to your regular fitness routine this winter:
  • Act like a kid again and go sledding.  Enjoy the remaining mounds of snow and burn up to 300 calories an hour frolicking with your kids.
  • Build a snowman with your family.
  • Bundle up and go for a winter walk.  Whether taking a brisk walk around the block with your dogs, taking a stroll to admire the winter wonderland of the woods with your family or taking a reflective hike, getting outside for 20 minutes will elevate your mood.
  • Need a commercial break?  When TV ads rotate between your favorite shows, run outside and make a snow angel.
  • Instead of eating lunch at your desk, spend a few minutes making your own Olympic moment at an outdoor ice rink.  There are numerous outdoor ice rinks that offer one hour lunchtime skates.  Bring a change of clothes, take a few laps around the rink and grab a salad with salmon, legumes and walnuts on your way back to the office.  (Foods rich in Omega 3's have been shown to moderate hormone levels and help keep moods consistent.  So, load up on "fatty" fishes, edamame, enriched eggs and wild rices!)
You may notice a difference after just one workout, but it can take two weeks for your mood to turn around. Have fun in the winter sun!

To learn how Fitness for Health can help you create an exciting, winter fitness routine, visit or call 301-231-7138.

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