What to do with Winter?
Snow fall is just around the corner to welcome us into these cold winter months. The best way to beat those winter blahs is to keep busy. An adventurous attitude is your best defense. Become aware of your regular routine and keep an open mind to introducing new elements within your own comfort level. Though many of us turn to the cosies of home; turning up our energy and exercise levels are a great way to improve your overall well-being this season.
Vitamin D from sunlight is very important in colder months for mood maintenance. Little life adjustments like keeping your window shades up, opting to sit by the window at any opportunity, and spending more time outdoors is a good place to start. Sunlight exposure releases neurotransmitters in the brain that affect mood. If you ever notice feeling depressed or sad in winter months this may be the reason. Just one benefit to spending more time outside this winter season.
Although many people feel at home curling up with a good movie or favourite television series paired with wine, beer, or spirits it is not always the healthiest option. More than 5 consecutive glasses of alcohol are considered binge drinking and can also affect your demeanour. This is because alcohol is actually a depressant and can have adverse effects on mood. It can also lead to feeling sick or more tired through the day. Drinking moderately and being cautious of your own personal limits are the best options.
Have some fun! Winter usually coaxes people indoors, opposite to spring and summer behaviours. But did you know that 20 to 30 percent of people who spend time outdoors are less likely to catch the common cold or experience a negative change in mood? Outdoor activities may vary on your personal abilities, interests and comfort levels:
LOW IMPACT: An exercise or activity that is not strenuous on the body.
Bundling up in your warmest woollies to go for a walk is a great low impact option. Choose a nature trail in your area, a friend’s recommendation or try a new park you might like to explore. Hats, gloves or mittens and a comfortable warm, water resistant boot are always a good option.
Cross-Country skiing will certainly increase your heart rate-but did you know that it is considered one of the safest low-impact sports in the world? Cross-Country skiing involves a lot of balance and endurance, and is another great way to optimize natural vitamin D levels by being outdoors.
MODERATE IMPACT: An exercise or activity that usually mixes elements of high impact and low impact exercises. If you can have a conversation during this type of exercise but can’t sing a song out loud you are probably working at a moderate level.
Try taking any low impact activity and pushing your own personal limits. Stay out longer or move a little faster. These actions can turn a low impact activity into something more moderate.
HIGH IMPACT: Can be defined as any activity or exercise where your feet leave the floor.
Stomp through some trails or even around the block with a pair of snowshoes strapped to your feet. Trudging through the snow with these on is sure to break a sweat! Snowshoes allow you to get a great workout and still take in nature.
If curling up indoors still sounds like the best option for you, consider getting active indoors. An option that we all know too well that is sure to raise heart rates is shovelling the driveway. Condo owners and some partial to renting may be exempt from this category but shovelling the driveway can turn out to be a fair bit of work.
Although you can obtain a moderate to high level workout, the consistency of snowfalls is not something to rely on for those who prefer routine fitness. For a more structured regime, turn to joining a gym that has flexibility in hours which suit your schedule. If you don’t like the idea of commuting you can save yourself the commute time and convert some free space in your home as an area dedicated to exercise and fitness. Taking to the mall or shopping centre to walk around briskly is another friendly alternative, after all walking is one of the best exercises for overall health.
Being conscious of a healthful lifestyle is a good place to start living well; every day things can then become part of healthier living. Every day chores with a bit of awareness can be converted into a more healthful activity like cleaning the house more rigorously than usual for example. Even being more conscious about the foods that you and your family are consuming every day can affect living a healthy lifestyle. Having greater awareness and willingness to do something a bit different can save even the most frigid and seemingly miserable days indoors or out and prevent winter blues from creeping up on you this season.
*Ensure that you check with a physician before attempting any physical activity or starting an exercise regime.