That extra hour of sleep can only get you so far when it comes to keeping your energy levels up. As the days get shorter, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can set in, it may be tough to motivate yourself to do anything—which is why it’s the perfect time to start a fitness routine!
“Research shows that one of the most beneficial ways to prevent and treat depression is exercise,” says Addiction and Mental Health Specialist, Dr. David Sack. “Even just 30 minutes at least three days a week can boost energy and mood.”
So if you’re looking to get back on the exercise wagon or just starting out, Health & Wellness expert John Rowley offers the following 4 tips:
Do your exercise routine early in the morning before the day begins or turn your lunch hour into a fitness hour. Start off with something you enjoy and can easily fit into your schedule. If you’re not doing anything now, a 10-minute walk will do wonders for your body and mind—and before you know it the 10 minutes will turn into 30 minutes.
Climb the stairs in your building. “I know a company that keeps a sheet at the top of the stairs in their office and they have a contest on who does the most stairs,” says Rowley. Or get outside and walk. Dress warmly and enjoy the brisk air to get the blood pumping. You’ll feel less anxious and more energized.
Cheer yourself on before you even start exercising. Have you ever gone to a ball game exhausted and then you start cheering and all of a sudden you feel energized? Motion creates emotion. Getting yourself psyched up before starting your fitness routine will add more power to your workout. Chant some positive fitness affirmations, clap your hands together, do some cardio moves like lunges and squats to get your heart rate up, and get pumped!
Focus on making daily incremental changes because that’s what will bring you lifelong results.
For example, instead of opting for a bagel for breakfast, whip up a protein drink or have some eggs. If you can stay true to your nutrition and exercise program 80 percent of the time you’ll see a difference. And once you see results, the motivation will come with zero pressure.
So if you’re dreading the winter blues or feel exhausted just by looking at the darkness outside, it’s time to get moving! It’ll boost your mood and get you back on track before we spring forward again in March.
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Tara Weng is formerly a medical/features producer at the NBC television affiliate in Boston, MA, and National Editor of Health/Parenting channel at GalTime.com.