Cold weather? Beat winter depression with exercise!

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Source: http://politiken.dk/indland/ECE1151736/nyt-voldsomt-snevejr-naermer-sig-danmark/

 

Picture this, it’s cold, wet, rainy or snowy, and the winds chill cuts through you every passing moment you venture outside. By 3PM it’s already pitch black and you feel the light deprevation eating away at your soul.

Sound familiar? It certainly does for me! Each year in Copenhagen I experience “the winter blues” or “SAD” which starts to slowly eat away at my confidence, happiness, and desire to live a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, this is all too common in the areas of the world where we are blessed enough to feel a “real” winter.


 

Don’t fret; Here’s some tips and tricks to make the most out of this weather!

Running in the Winter.

 

First and Foremost, find a way to incorporate daily (or near daily) exercise in your own home.  It can be grueling to make the voyage to your gym when the weather is hellish outside. Instead, I recommend you find a way to exercise at home that is enjoyable and effective. If you also happen to make it to the gym, then that’s a bonus!

Did you know that consistent exercise has such a strong effect on depression it’s been shown to be just as effective as antidepressants?¹ It’s true! Numerous studies² ³ have found that exercise had a significant effect on depression regardless of gender and age group. And the awesome thing? The more exercise performed and the higher the frequency, the higher the anti-depressant effect!

My Personal recommendation (for individuals who are already active) is to consider a yoga session, a full-body resistance routine, or a H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training) workout. These can easily be performed in home without any extra equipment and without any sort of financial investment. Luckily there are MANY free resources out there which offer these types of workouts.

Here’s just a few!

  • Freeletics- This free application available on both iPhone and Android allows you to choose from dozens of free workout routines. Whether you want to perform H.I.I.T., strength training, or just get your blood pumping this is definitely the app for you!
    • Pros: Free, Many Exercise Routines to choose from, Video Instruction
    • Cons: You are required to push yourself and workout on your own instead of along with an instructor, it may be difficult to pace yourself slowly, does not include stretching/foam rolling routines
  • Fitness Blender on Youtube– This couple has hundreds of free workout routines! From cardio, H.I.I.T., to low intensity cardio you’re guaranteed an awesome workout!
    • Pros: Free, Hundreds of workout Routines to choose from, Video Instruction, Slow properly paced workouts, includes foam rolling and flexibility as well as warm up/cool down
    • Cons: These exercises require you to use Youtube to access them. An AppleTV/Roku/Smart TV is a must for proper viewing!
  • Zuzka Light on Youtube– This girl has a rocking body and knows exactly how to kill a workout! The former member of BodyRock now has her own channel showcasing hundreds of short but high-intensity workouts.
    • Pros: Free, Hundreds of workout Routines to choose from, Video Instruction, Slow properly paced workouts, includes foam rolling and flexibility as well as warm up/cool down
    • Cons: These exercises require you to use Youtube to access them. An AppleTV/Roku/Smart TV is a must for proper viewing! Zuzka may try and sell you on some special equipment like weighted vests, even bars, or a sandbag.
  • BodyRock on Youtube– This couple has some awesome short and intense workouts! Ignore the overly sexual shots and look instead at their content. Thumbs up if you still look sexy during one of their workouts!
    • Pros: Free, Hundreds of workout Routines to choose from, Video Instruction, Slow properly paced workouts, includes foam rolling and flexibility as well as warm up/cool down
    • Cons: These exercises require you to use Youtube to access them. An AppleTV/Roku/Smart TV is a must for proper viewing! They may try and sell you on some special equipment like weighted vests, even bars, or a sandbag.
  • BeFit on Youtube– This channel includes workouts from Jillian Michaels, Denise Austin, Jane Fonda, Billy Blanks Jr., and more! In my opinion, the 30-day Shred by Jillian Michaels seems to be particularly effective and enjoyable!
    • Pros: Free, Hundreds of workout Routines to choose from, Video Instruction, Slow properly paced workouts, includes foam rolling and flexibility as well as warm up/cool down
    • Cons: These exercises require you to use Youtube to access them. An AppleTV/Roku/Smart TV is a must for proper viewing!

 

If you’re just beginning a workout routine, My New Evolve Lifestyle Transition Plan is for you! It’s a six week beginner’s routine designed to help you get in shape, safely and effectively!


 

 

 

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Secondly, find a way to increase your exposure to bright light! Exposing yourself to bright light can help in regulating your circadian rythym, certain hormones, and our mood. It’s a must during the cold months when light is few and far between!

  • Light Box– You can purchase a Light Box (Based on the recommendations i’ve seen I personally recommend a minimum of 10,000 lux lights, like the Verilux) which is an effective treatment method of SAD.
  • Wake Up Light– Something which I personally use is the phillip’s wake up light! It helps balance your circadian rythym and wake up feeling refreshed and happy, despite the darkness outside!
  • Take Advantage of the days and time we have sun!

 

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Third, eat filling stews, soups, and other warm hearty foods. I know how difficult it can be to stay on track with our calorie and nutritional goals when it’s cold and miserable outside! I recommend you find some tasty and soul-warming foods that wont break the calorie budget! Oh, and of course, take your vitamin D! I’ve already shared the following recipes you might like!

The key during this season is to find ways to eat that are both enjoyable and warming! Some awesome things you might want to consider as well:

  • Spiced Herbal Teas
  • Chai Lattes (My favorite is the Vanilla Elephant from David Rio)
  • Peppermint and Spearmint Teas
  • Coffee with low calorie sweeteners

 


 

Take advantage of this season and enjoy it to the fullest! By staying active, eating a healthy diet, and getting as much light as you can you’ll be well on your way to a happier and healthier you!