It’s winter. Days are shorter. Flu season is here. It’s common for the winter blues to set in. And when we’re “blue-ish,” we tend to hibernate and often slack off on exercising. Time to help your brain help you get motivated and increase happiness during the winter.
The brain generates four main “feel good” chemicals – endorphin, oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine. When you exercise, your brain produces endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in the body. Think “runners high.” So, let’s tackle the winter blues by increasing our endorphins!
Here are 5 tips on how to beat the winter blues, exercise-style.
1. Set goals
It is well-known that setting goals leads to success. Maybe you want to go to the gym more often. Or increase your cardio activity. Or reduce your body fat. To accomplish those goals, use the S.M.A.R.T. method and create goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. Rather than having a goal of “Do more sit ups,” be specific – “Be able to do 50 sit ups at one time in 2 weeks.” And another that is “Be able to do 100 sit ups at one time in 4 weeks.” Write down your goals and put them in a spot you’ll see every day.
2. Create a schedule
Your important daily activities get put on your calendar, right? Ever miss an appointment or event because you forgot to schedule it? With our busy lives, it’s oh so easy to do. Out of sight, out of mind. If you don’t carve out time in your calendar for fitness, it will be just as easy to forget to go. Think of your workouts as important meetings. Take the time to add them to your schedule.
3. Commit to a race
When you make the effort to register for a race or other athletic event and pay the entry fee, you’re less likely to back out. Your commitment level increases. Easily find running races all over the country with ActiveSoul’s app.
4. Try yoga
If you’re a yoga newbie, give it a try. Yoga is both mentally calming and physically challenging. Studies show that yoga creates a significant increase in endorphin level. Connect with your mind and body this winter by adding yoga into your routine.
5. Find a workout partner
Not only is it more fun to exercise with a friend, but a workout buddy holds you accountable. Let’s say it’s snowing outside, prompting those hibernating feelings. It’s harder to back out when you know a friend is counting on you to make it. Workout partners support each other and give that extra push needed to keep improving.
This winter, increase your “happy brain” chemicals to motivate you through the season. Not only will you help stave off the winter blues, but you’ll also waltz into spring with a more fit body.