Combating the Winter Blues

Combating the Winter Blues

Winter is coming. It’s a sad but definite reality. Along with the cold temperatures and disappearance of sunshine, come the winter blues. This is a real phenomenon for EVERYONE, it just hits certain people harder than others. You’ve got all kinds of great momentum built up and we want to make sure that we don’t lose out on our progress in the winter… so what can we do??

One solution is LIGHT. That’s right, the seemingly small detail of less sunlight actually is a HUGE deal to all of us. To combat this, technology gives us the infrared light. This light stimulates our bodies to be more metabolically active, literally giving us more energy. The infrared light is good for just about everything in our bodies and is accompanied with heat to combat all the cold temps, double the benefits! Now the drawback to infrared light is the cost. You could buy your own sauna or red light unit, both of which can get pricey. But if you do some digging, there are many wellness centers, spas, gyms that are now offering infrared saunas at a much more affordable price point. You’ll be surprised how much impact just a little light can have. Another solution is to embrace the winter season. Most of us live in a place where it gets cold… but a tolerable cold. So bundle up and get outside! The cold can actually increase your metabolism.

The body always wants to keep a constant temperature, so when you make it cold the body is going to fight to keep warm. When you expose yourself to the cold, the body WORKS to get warm which will burn calories and gradually force the body to ADAPT. I suggest covering your ears, hands, and feet generously and going lighter on pants, coats etc. Keep the distal appendages warm and the rest of the torso will take care of itself. This will be hard. This is NOT comfortable. That is the point 🙂 The most important thing you need to do is MOVE! Move every day, your literal life depends on it. I suggest doing it first thing in the morning as nothing will get in its way as the day wears on. Body weight exercises in the living room is better than nothing at all. If you are up to it, try joining a small gym or group that holds one another accountable. Have a buddy that you go with or at least checks in with you to give you the extra support when you need it. It is so easy to get caught in the trap of sitting on the couch watching TV because it’s miserable outside. Find the solution to avoid this trap.

Getting started again after months of no activity will make a difficult journey even more challenging. Keep up the great momentum you’ve built! To recap, the BEST ways to avoid the winter blues are MOVING, INFRARED LIGHT, and embracing the COLD will make you stronger, more resilient and continue the awesome progress you already have going!

Matt V., FRC, BS Exercise Science

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