It hurts so good! Exercise in the winter sweeps away the gray clouds in our minds and leaves us feeling cleansed, happy, and healthy.
Do you ever wonder why you feel so great after a workout? Your legs feel like Jell-O, your whole body is sore and even more so the next day, you’re hungrier than a hippo, but you’re smiling so big and feeling on top of the whole. This is because when you exercise, your body releases hormones called endorphins that make you feel elated and happy! These also decrease the pain you are feeling, and are the cause of the so-called runner’s high. Dopamine and serotonin are also released during exercise, both of which increase your happiness, decrease anxiety, and increase your self-confidence and motivation.
There are numerous studies that have proven exercise can actually be used as an effective TREATMENT for mild to moderate depressive disorder. It’s quite easy to work and exercise outside in the summer under the nice, warm sun, but it gets a little harder when it’s below 20 degrees or snowing. Most of us are living in places without much sun this time of year, which contributes to low vitamin D levels and the infamous seasonal depression or winter blues. Cold weather keeps people indoors, but it is essential to move your body to keep those blue feelings from getting you down!
Here are some ideas on how to exercise when you are indoors:
Use a treadmill or a stationary bike while watching a feel-good movie or your favorite TV show.
Dance! Put on your favorite tunes, jam out, and dance like no one is watching for twenty or thirty minutes.
Clean your home! Doing dishes, laundry, mopping the tile, dusting, and vacuuming is a great two-for-one workout!
Find a gym, a community center, or a nearby YMCA! Play in one of the pick-up basketball games, workout in the weight room, or take a swim.
Remember how you always wanted to learn how to country dance or paint? Today is the BEST day to get out there and try something new that you’ve always wanted to do! You’d be surprised at what you can find in your community. Many places offer certain classes for free or at a very low price for beginners!
Join a group fitness class! Zumba, cycling, kickboxing, yoga! These are great opportunities to make friends, be held accountable for your weekly class, and make exercise super fun!
Bundle up and walk outside! Take a look at the winter wonderland that is your neighborhood. Your body will be burning calories to keep you warm AND keep you moving!
Another note, some studies have shown that dark chocolate and spicy foods can lead the brain to release endorphins as well- I think we know a perfect protein powder for that! J The new Sunwarrior’s Aztec Chocolate Illumin8 is full brain-boosting nutrients with such a great taste.
Making exercise a part of your schedule will help you reduce your stress, increase happiness and motivation, and even benefit your sleep!