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Saturday, 11 May 2019

Why you need exercise as part of your routine

By Private Therapy Clinic

It can be a lot harder to be motivated about exercising in the winter than at other times of the year but exercising in the winter months is just as important as ever, if not more so.

A lot of people are more prone to mental disorders such as anxiety and depression in the winter. Some of those people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. While it would be silly to suggest that going out for a walk is a cure for emotional or mental distress, exercise should be part of any approach to treatment. For one thing, there are clear and proven links between getting a moderate amount of exercise and better mental health. For another, particularly for those who suffer from SAD, it is important to be outdoors as much as possible during daylight hours, as exposure to daylight can help with the symptoms. Those of us who live in northern climes are all vulnerable to low vitamin D levels in the winter, and while supplements can help with this, nothing beats the vitamin D that our bodies produce naturally in response to sunlight. Without enough vitamin D, we are prone to feeling tired and listless, which does our mental health no good.

Another good reason to exercise in the winter is the simple fact that we tend to be more prone to gaining weight at that time. Because it is colder, we are more attracted to hearty, high-calorie fare. There are Christmas and other seasonal parties, celebrated by ingesting vast calorie payloads, and the fact that we are all wearing bulkier clothing means that we are less aware of weight gain. Getting a little exercise every day during the winter can help us to maintain a healthy weight, which is good for positive affect.

It can be difficult to get motivated when the days are so short, and the weather is so often miserable, but there are ways around that. If you like going to the gym or swimming pool, arrange to go with a friend or join a prepaid class to give you an extra incentive to turn up. If you prefer just to go for a simple walk, see if a friend or neighbour can accompany you for a brisk half hour before or after work. Do you have an elderly neighbour who needs help walking their dog? Maybe you could volunteer to take their pet out a couple of times a week. When you make a commitment with someone else, you are much more likely to fulfil it. It might also be useful to keep an exercise log so that you can see how much you are moving every day.

Most people find that their symptoms of depression, anxiety, and so forth are more manageable when they are getting a reasonable amount of exercise. Because winter seems to present fewer opportunities to get out and about, it can be easy to let physical activity go by the wayside. However, putting in even a little effort towards finding time for physical activity is more than worth it and your physical and mental/emotional health will both be better as a result.


For help with the issues discussed in this article speak to one of our therapists here at Private Therapy Clinic for a free initial chat or to make an appointment.

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