It’s that time again: The days get shorter with daylight savings, and poor weather conditions start to arrive.
This is where seasonal affective disorder takes effect on many folks. It’s triggered by the change of seasons and most commonly begins in late fall. This is a condition that causes people to feel symptoms of sadness, lack of energy, loss of interest in usual activities, oversleeping, possible weight gain and even potentially depression during the darker winter months.
The reason for this is usually due to a lack of sunlight, wet and colder climates. The body isn’t getting the sunlight that it normally would in a day. When you are feeling low or lack motivation, fitness-related activities often seem like the last thing you want to do. But it can be one of the best things for you once you get motivated.
Fitness releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters and can take you out of your rut. Anything that moves your body, pumping your blood flow while working your muscles can make a difference. Even just a short walk or jog around your neighborhood.
Fitness goes way beyond the common visit to the gym. It includes a wide range of activities that boost your activity level to help you feel better.
Any physical activity that gets you off the couch and moving your body can help improve your mood. Doing 30 minutes or more of exercise a day for three to five days a week may significantly improve depression or anxiety symptoms. But smaller amounts of physical activity, as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time should make a positive impact and difference to your physical and mental health.
Don’t think of fitness as a chore. Rather, look at fitness as a healthy positive outlet the same way you look at your therapy sessions or medication as one of the tools to help you get healthier as a person living a happier life.
First, identify what you enjoy doing. Figure out what type of fitness area you’re most likely to do, and think about when and how you’d be most likely to follow through. For example, you could start your day with a jog, be in nature for a hike, go for a bike ride, or do a 20-30-minute body weight session in your yard. Think of what you enjoy to help you stick with it.
If you need some support here are some ways to help:
- Reach out to a friend to join you on a hike or jog
- Set reasonable goals for yourself, having something to work towards
- Schedule your training each week so you are held accountable
- Hire a personal trainer to keep you consistent
Ashley LaMorte is a nationally certified fitness instructor and has been in the fitness industry close to a decade. Over the years she has gotten the opportunity to instruct group X boot camps at gyms and train private clients from all walks of life, all over the Bay Area. She now has her own mobile fitness business LaMorte Lift. Learn more at LaMorteLift.com.