Beat the Winter Blues with Physical Activity

To maintain well-being, it is
important to stay physically active in the winter. During the cold, winter months
there is less sunlight, shorter days, and more perceived barriers and as a
result it is common to stay inside more than usual. This can lead to less vitamin
D, less physical activity, decreased Serotonin levels, and the
Winter Blues.

Being physically active does not mean you
must perform vigorous exercise to get health benefits.
Moderate activity, such as housework,
brisk walks & gentle yoga is beneficial.
  • Recommended:
    moderate aerobic activity 30 min./day; 5 days/week (all Americans)
  • Recommended:
    resistance/strength training 2x/w (all Americans)
However, the more active, the more health
benefits! You can do this by increasing the frequency, duration and/or
intensity of the activity safely.
Consistency is key!
It may be harder to find motivation during
winter, but these simple tips below can help you
stay happy and healthy year round!

Common Causes &
Risk Factors

  • Genetics Seasonal Affective Disorder,
    (SAD), about
    half million Americans diagnosed/year
  • Lack of sunlight= less vitamin D= less serotonin, (“feel
    good” chemical, released during exercise. controls appetite, mood & sleep.
    dark winters decrease levels of it)
  • Lack of physical activity- cold, short,
    dark days & other
    perceived barriers (time, gym location, fatigue, etc.)

7 Tips &

GET OUTSIDE vitamin D:
errands, gym, short walks
  • Will connect to nature; appreciate
    seasons/warm house
  • “Even on cloudy day, 1 hr. exercise=2.5
    hrs. light treatment!” (Bates College SAD study)
  • Recommended vitamin D: 10 min/day, unfiltered

INDOOR GROUP EXERCISE CLASS-  Zumba, yoga, pool classes &
  • Motivation, fun, relaxing, group support,
    rewarding, warm pool water
TRY A NEW ACTIVITY- challenge yourself
  • Automatically feel accomplished,
    confident, more happy

GRAB A FRIEND- consistency &
  • Plan future spring/summer race together
  • Hold accountable

TAKE ADVANTAGE- winter activities
  • Pond hockey, pond fishing, ski,
    snowboard, cross country ski, snow tubing, snow shoe hikes, trail run, walks,
    skating, curling, shoveling, yard work, play with kids/grandkids in snow

PREPARE- plan spring/summer
goals: getting in shape for summer
  • Hire personal trainer: help
    support/motivate you, achieve your goals safely & effectively!

FROM HOME- redecorate house interior/ clean
out your space
  • Buy small heat lamp
  • Make bucket list- physical activities to
    try in future & hang up on wall

Blog post by Erin Tollios.