It's official, the temperature has dropped and the long dark days of winter are here! For some, it's the perfect weatherto stay in, curled up and comfortable at home. However, the change of weather can be unmotivating and even cause seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression with mood changes and symptoms, such as oversleeping, weight gain and low energy, that happen during the fall and winter months.
It's hard to leave the house in the cold.
Read more to learn the top tips for staying motivated this winter!
• Eat a balanced diet &stay hydrated. Food makes us feel good, besides tasting good and nourishing the body, food also has an influence on appetite and mood. Complex carbs, like whole grains, can boost energy. Fruits and veggies of deepgreen or orange, like broccoli, kale, and carrots, have nutrients that promote better mood and total health. Drinking plenty of fluids helps fight the dryness of forced heat that can cause you to feel sluggish in the morning.
• Get some vitamin D. Sunlight is a source of Vitamin D, a nutrient linked to sharper thinking and better emotional health. Make it a point to get some sunlight even if it's just a 10-20-minute walk. Arrange your schedule to start or end later or earlier so that you can get outside during the daylight.
• Try a sun Lamp. Sun Lamp's can have a positive effect on your body's regulation of melatonin, a hormone that helps control your sleep-wake cycle, as well as serotonin, which helps regulate your mood. A lamp that gives offUV radiation similar to sunlight canproduce vitamin D3 in the skin, which is a great alternative during the winter months when natural sunlight isn't as available. Light therapy may be the first line of treatment for SAD.
• Wear the right clothes. We don't need any excuses, so being prepared with the right workout clothes is important, not to mention having a nice workout outfit can be pretty motivating. Try to aim for clothes that provide light warmth and comfort with fast drying fabrics like polyester and wick away moisture. Remember to layer up. You can start out warm, preparing your muscles and slowly take off layers as you work up a sweat.
• Try meditation or breathing exercises to get the blood flowing. When you're unmotivated, a lot of times it's because you're feeling sluggish or kind of lazy. By pausing for a few minutes to focus and take some long, deep breaths it can help clear vour mind and boost energy levels, making it easier to get motivated into a workout routine.
• Find a fitness friend. Ask a friend, family or even someone at the gym to hold you accountable for exercising. Or see if they'll join you and you can hold each other accountable. A friend is more likely to
tell you you're slacking off if you feel like giving up, especially fi they're working out with you. It is possible to keep going if you have accountability and an exercise partner.
• Always have a plan. Make a date with yourself, mark it on your calendar. Remember, no excuses! You can do a home workout ifyou can't go to the gym. Focus on what you can do. If time only allows 10-20 minutes, any activity you can start and be consistent with can encourage you to get moving.
• Think like a kid, P.L.A.Y! Kids don't see playing as exercise, they see it as having fun, you can do the same. Try different activities and sports that will bring fun back to getting fit. Turn on some music and dance! Dancing is one of the best ways you can move your body to work up a sweat, and good music can really help lift your spirits and mood.
• Balance your temperature. It's known that when your body is cold, it's hard to get motivated and focus. When it's too warm and dry from forced heat, it can make you feel sluggish and your body reacts
just as slowly as ifyou were fighting the cold. It's important that when you're keeping warm, you're not so comfy that you're unmotivated. It might be helpful to reduce the heat and wear warmer clothes and socks in the house. If you're headed out for a workout or run errands try to raise your internal body heat by doing a few stretches, maybe a squat or two. This will help loosen and warm up your muscles, change your mindset, while raising your body temperature to be prepared for what's outside.
For many, winter is an extremely challenging time to stay motivated, especially if you're one of the million suffering from SAD. One of the best ways to manage is through exercise and getting enough sunlight. You don't have to lose your motivation and give up exercising, you can remain active during the winter months even if you want to crawl under the covers to get warm. Set some S.M.A.R.T. goals, enlist the help of a friend, try new activities, and get moving. You know you will feel better, which will motivate you to keep going.