Winter Endorphins

The new year has started, it’s white outside, and we are in the heart of winter.  It is common knowledge that people can be affected by the lack of sunshine and shortened daylight (it’s call SAD–Seasonal Affective Disorder).  It is also fairly common knowledge that when you exercise, your mood improves (it’s called endorphins).  So you’d think that it’s an easy solution to a common problem, right?  It can be, but here are the barriers we need to get past:

  • The new year has started.  A lot of people exercise for the purpose of losing weight and when their goals are not met immediately, many give up.  My point in saying this is that there needs to be more motivation to exercise other than simply losing weight.  Maybe we should exercise because it’s how our bodies were created to work.  Or maybe we should do something active because it’s fun.  Another idea is to exercise because it allows one to think better and feel better.  Or it can even be something that is used to spend quality time with someone you care about.  Hey, why not exercise because it’s good for you and you care…about your body and about those who love and depend on you.  What motivates you?  Your new year’s resolution or something bigger than that?  
  • It’s white outside.  Driving can be tricky and winter weather may not be safe to get around in.  There are times it might just not be worth getting to the gym if it means clearing off the car, shoveling the driveway, and risking your life to get there.  Besides, the gym might even be closed if the weather is bad enough.  There are some simple solutions if you are wanting to be active but are snowed in.  First, shovel.  If your husband/wife already did that, then do a stair workout, play in the snow with the dog, or the kids, or go sledding, skiing, or snowboarding.  Snow doesn’t have to equal sedentary.  
  • We are in the heart of winter.  It’s cold.  It’s dark.  Most people want to stay inside and be warm and cozy.  For many, the desire to be active just isn’t there like it is in the spring. People can get the “winter doldrums”, and that brings the conversation full circle.  
Ultimately, we were made to release chemicals when exercising that help us to feel better.  This is no coincidence; it is just another beautiful way that our bodies work in order to maintain health — physical health and emotional health.  Hang in there and keep exercising.  You’ll be thankful you did.

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