Exercise and eating a healthy nutritional diet can really make the winter blues lighter versus staying put inside and eating your favorite indulgences whether it’s carbs or sweets. The day light is shorter, and the sun is only out for so long which does not help; however, it does help with those indulgent cravings and becoming sedentary during this time of year. For many people this leads to depression and a lack of motivation in staying in line with their health. However, there are simple and inexpensive solutions that can help take care of this problem with the winter time blues.
Whether you belong to a health club or not is not a problem, but the important thing is to get enough exercise which is the main solution to this problem of the winter time blues. Working out at least 3-5 times a week for 30 to 90 minutes per session will definitely help with releasing endorphins that will make you feel more positive and upbeat. Your simple exercise routine can start with aerobic/cardiovascular activity for at least 10-30 minutes per day, depending on your fitness level, and starting with lower amounts of time in the beginning and working your way up. Also, you do not have to have high intensity in your aerobic/cardiovascular program, but simple light walking, biking or elliptical training will be just fine, and if you belong to a health club swimming is another great aerobic/cardiovascular exercise as well. Keeping a moderate exercise heart rate of 50%-70% of one’s maximal heart rate is all that is needed to achieve an excellent aerobic/cardiovascular workout. Remember that a higher intensity workout does not mean you will burn body fat faster, but you will get that endorphin rush and can feel more upbeat after an aerobic/cardiovascular workout.
Resistance or strength training is another key component in helping with eliminating the winter blue. This can be done with simple dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells and body weight that will overload the muscle during the muscle contractions and actually tear the muscle down and over time build more hypertrophy, or larger muscles. This will allow more blood flow throughout the body and release more endorphins and create a more positive way of thinking in the body and mind.
Finally, nutrition is everything, and eating a healthy diet all throughout the year is necessary, especially if the objective is feeling good and reaching your health and fitness goals. Eating low fat meats such as poultry and fish for protein is essential for the building blocks of amino acids for muscle repair during strength training and it will not make you feel heavy or lethargic. Most importantly, taking in heavy levels of fruits and vegetables will give you the vitamins and nutrients needed to boost the immune system, and the antioxidants will help prevent disease through the phytonutrients found in foods such as spinach, kale and Nori. The most important thing is to make sure you are also getting the daily allowance of vitamin D either through dairy or these greens with phytonutrients. If you are not taking a multi-vitamin or a vitamin D supplement, this will give you the nutrients you need for more energy, just as the sun gives you to make you more vibrant and give you more energy to go out and be physically active. Spirulina, which is another phytonutrient, is produced by blue green algae and is another recommended supplement to help boost energy and prevent diseases such as cancer. Remember to always contact your physician and a registered dietitian when adjusting your nutritional intake.