Staying Active in Winter
By Debra Rodzinak
Staying active during the winter months not only is good for the body, but exercise can cut down on episodes of depression which tend to be greater for some during the holidays. Whether indoors or outdoors, keeping active this winter is necessary for overall health.
Even when the weather is inclement, exercise can still be accomplished indoors.
- Walk – Walking can be accomplished indoors at the gym, but if you want to make it a little more fun head to the local mall and take in the sights
- Resistance – Hand weights or stretch bands can be used at home while watching your favorite TV show or relaxing
- DVDs or Internet Videos – There are numerous types of exercise videos or downloads to choose from for any type of routine
- Stairs – Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a great way to add some extra activity into a busy day
- Housework – It has to be done, so why not stay active while keeping your home looking good
- Gym – Joining in group activities like aerobics or Zumba can be a great motivator
When the weather brightens up, go outdoors and soak up some sunshine which helps to lighten a mood.
- Yard work – Raking leaves or mowing the lawn with a push mower burns calories and works muscles that can go soft in the winter months
- Walk – Be sure to cover all exposed areas when the mercury dips down and take a walk around the neighborhood
- Shovel snow – A great form of exercise, shoveling your driveway and even helping a neighbor is good for the body and soul
- Try something new – Take this time to try a new winter sport like skiing, skating, or ice hockey after you purchase the right equipment
Even with increased exercise, depression can still creep in during the winter months. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a common occurrence for many people. According to the Mayo Clinic, SAD starts in the fall and continues through the winter months. Low energy, moodiness, sadness, and irritability are a few of the signs of SAD. This type of depression often ends in spring. The lack of sunlight, staying indoors, and holiday changes can all lead to depression. Don’t ignore these warning signs of depression during the winter months.
There are several different types of treatments available for SAD, including phototherapy (light therapy), psychotherapy, and certain kinds of medications. If you feel a case of the “winter blues” coming on, don’t ignore the symptoms. If exercise is not completely eliminating this feeling, seek help from a certified professional.