Beat the winter blues with exercise

With the dark nights and dropping temperature, it can be tempting to pack away the training kit and go into hibernation mode.

However, remaining active during the colder months can prove to be even more beneficial to your body and state of mind than exercising in summer.

Winter blue

So why is exercising in winter so important?

Release endorphins and improve your mood

Winter is the hardest time to remain positive, motivated and productive, especially during your workouts. Although you can’t make a difference to the weather you can improve your mood and psychological state through exercise. In fact, studies show that exercise helps to boost endorphins, the feel good hormones. Exercise can also help combat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) a type of ‘winter depression’ where symptoms are more apparent and severe during winter.

Curb those carb cravings

During the cold winter months there’s nothing better and warmer than comfort food. But if you consume more calories than the body burns AND you skip your workouts, those excess calories will be stored on your body as fat and you will pack on the pounds. Diminished sunlight during winter makes serotonin, the mood-enhancing chemical in the brain, less active. Unfortunately, this shortage leaves you feeling tired and hungry, which can trigger cravings for those extra comforting carbohydrates. When doubled with the fact that the body has been shown to promote fat storage during winter, exercise in any form can go a long way to beating the winter bulge.

Improve your immune system

The winter season brings with it extra colds, sniffles and flu. Exercise is a great way to help boost your immune system and fight off illness, as getting your blood pumping helps to circulate immune cells and detect and destroy infection more effectively. Although healthy eating plays a more vital role in immune system development and maintenance, regular exercise is an important tool in avoiding those extra sick days over winter.

Break bad habits

It’s easy to find an excuse not to exercise during the winter – but why not challenge yourself not to bottle out of regular exercise? If you learn to incorporate exercise into your weekly routine, such as squeezing in a Speedflex session before work or during your lunch hours, it will become an essential habit such as cleaning your teeth.

 

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