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Exercise away the winter blues

Exercise away the winter blues

Cold winter weather and dark mornings can sap our motivation for exercising and send us into hibernation mode. Nothing beats getting active for blowing away the winter blues. It’s time to Hussle!

HOW MUCH EXERCISE SHOULD I DO?

It doesn’t take a lot. A recent article from Harvard scientists found that doing 35 minutes exercise a day is enough to reduce depression and mental health problems. This could be a casual walk to work or a structured gym session. 

Getting the habit established is the challenging bit – particularly if you’re feeling gloomy. Start small. Commit to 5 minutes exercise every day. Then build up to 10 minutes, 15 and so on.

HOW DOES EXERCISE HELP BEAT THE BLUES?

Releases endorphins. You can’t change the weather but you can change your brain chemicals. A regular Hussle will boost your feel-good hormones and help you avoid sinking into Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Boosts immunity. Winter brings extra sniffles and coughs which can make you feel miserable, but you can fight them off with exercise. All that extra blood pumping sends immune cells circulating around the body helping to destroy lurking infections.

Curbs cravings. Decreased serotonin levels due to lack of sunlight can send your cravings for comfort food sky high. But too many carbs – especially if you’re skipping workouts – will store as fat. Exercise – particularly outdoors – will boost your serotonin and vitamin D levels and decrease those cravings.

Keeps good habits going. Make the effort to squeeze exercise into your weekly routine and you’ll stay on a positive track. Training on your lunch hour, an evening weights workout, Hussle whenever and wherever and it’ll become an established habit.

WHAT EXERCISE SHOULD I DO?

In all honesty. pretty much anything active will helps stave off the blues. Whatever you do, try to commit to a workout plan or it can be tempting to slack off.

Shorter tougher workouts like high intensity interval training and weightlifting are a good choice. They’re scientifically proven to raise serotonin levels. And shorter workouts are easier to fit into the shorter days.

When it’s really cold and dark, a warm, well lit gym is the perfect antidote.  Or if you really can't make it out the house, home workouts via an app are a great compromise. Something like FIIT will keep you scheduled and motivated.

If you can get outside, runs are ideal for beating the blues. Don’t fancy getting out there on your own? Join a running club. It’s sociable, structured and will give you a sense of achievement. Prefer a morning run? There’s always UK ParkRun every Saturday morning.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

 

the author

Kath Webb

Kath is a contributing writer for Hussle. Football, running, weight training, yoga and walking are her forte, along with cooking tasty, nutritious food - with a regular batch of cake chucked in.

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