When the weather starts getting colder, and the hours of daylight become more and more scarce, it’s extremely common to experience a change in mood and behaviour. You might start to feel more lethargic and begin to experience fatigue, sadness, decreased motivation and a decreased interest in social activities. This is what’s known as the ‘winter blues’ and the good news is, there are ways to beat it.
A more severe version of the ‘winter blues’ is SAD (seasonal affective disorder) which is characterized by major feelings of depression during the winter months followed by a significant improvement in mood come spring and summer. SAD carries many of the same symptoms as the ‘winter blues’ but in a considerably more intense capacity. That’s why ‘winter blues’ are also referred to as ‘subsyndromal SAD’.
If you find that the changes in your mood and behavior aren’t so severe that you’ve developed depression, you probably just have the winter blues – and exercise can cure this. In the winter, there are plenty of exciting activities that allow you to have fun while you get exercise. For example, there’s skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, hiking, ice skating and outdoor boot camps. Rather than giving into your fatigue, fight it with exercise while simultaneously boosting your mood and your energy levels. Here are 5 reasons why working out can help you beat the winter blues:
1. Exercise releases endorphin.
Exercising releases feel-good endorphin which increases your mood. That’s why you always feel so good and uplifted after a gym session. One of the main reasons why people develop the winter blues is because the weather makes them tired and lethargic, which prevents them from getting up and going to the gym. All that sitting around makes people feel terrible about themselves, but getting up and moving makes us feel productive and energetic.
2. Being active changes your story.
If your story is that every time winter rolls around, you suddenly feel more fatigued and you get lazy, it’s no wonder you feel down on yourself. For many of us, it’s the same sad story every winter. We become less active, less motivated, less happy and we gain a bunch of weight in the winter. It’s not good for your self-esteem to be so sedentary, and you shouldn’t let yourself turn into that person every winter. Being active every day will change your story, and make you feel good about yourself.
3. You’ll get to have fun with your friends.
You can get exercise while enjoying a fun day with your friends. Call up some friends, take the lead in planning something fun that gets you all moving, and suggest that you all go ice skating together. Most ice rinks play upbeat music and help you feel happy and stress-free. Trust me, you’ll feel much happier if you get out of the house, see friends, and do something active compared to how you’ll feel if you binge-watch Netflix in your pajamas all day.
4. Exercising outside is scientifically proven to increase happiness.
Several studies have shown that getting fresh air, exercising outside and being in nature is linked to increased happiness. We need fresh air, and we need to be out in nature. Don’t let the cold weather be an excuse to stay inside, because all you’ll do is cause the winter blues to set in. The biggest mistake we can make is to stay indoors all the time simply because it’s colder outside. It’s your mindset that you need to change, and you can do that by embracing all the fun outdoor activities that the winter has to offer.
5. You’ll get to see some beautiful scenery.
If you do choose to exercise outside in the winter to help beat the winter blues, why not go on a scenic hike or a beautiful skiing or snowshoeing trail? Think of the stunning snow-capped mountains you’ll see, and the whimsical snow-covered trees. You’ll be seeing plenty of gorgeous scenery, which will put you in a good mood, remind you of how beautiful the world is, and crush those cold-weather blues.