Having a case of the winter blues is—literally and figuratively—no laughing matter. "The winter blues" is a conversational term for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression due to seasonal fluctuations throughout the year. Do you have SAD? Read on to learn about popular symptoms and how to escape your cold-weather routine.
Typically, most adults with SAD say their symptoms commence in the fall and continue throughout the winter. The winter blues can include a host of uninvited side effects: mood swings, a marked decrease in energy, appetite changes, sustained feelings of melancholy, disruption to one's normal sleeping pattern, desire for isolation and difficulty concentrating.
If you find yourself in the blues rut during the chilly months, you're not alone. Up to 20 percent of American adults experience at least mild SAD. The aggravating aspect of SAD is that low energy begets lower energy. It's even more difficult to get motivated when SAD creates loss of interest in activities you normally enjoy and typically accomplish easily.
Thankfully, your amazingly intuitive body has the best weapon to combat happy-sapping SAD: endorphins. When endorphin levels increase, your body is better able to respond with vigor—thus helping you feel happier. One of the best ways to increase your endorphin levels is to engage in sustained exercise. Try starting out by exercising for 20 to 30 minutes a few times a week. Experts say four or five days a week is optimal for taking down the winter blues.
Once you begin, you'll find you want more simply because of the euphoric benefits a workout provides. You'll also gain muscle tone, maintain or lose weight, receive compliments and cheers from others about your buoyant mood, and have looser jeans.
To optimize your endorphin release and to truly love your workout, keep it fresh and fun. While you may often end up going for a run because it's convenient, we challenge you to try something new. Group classes and high-energy workouts such as kickboxing are good ways to step outside your comfort zone while staying fit and feeling fabulous. There's also a good chance you'll meet a new friend or two. In addition, if you professionally rely on networking to expand your career, building connections by making small talk in between heavy bag strikes is a beautiful by-product of your efforts.
Beat the winter blues the old fashioned way by getting your sweat on—release those purely positive endorphins! Consider the rest of the full-body benefits the cherry on top!
Hit the Bag, Hit Your Core
Your bag workout may be hitting more muscles than you think. Arms aren't doing all of the work! Two dozen core muscles power your punches. Your core also acts as a stabilizer and absorbs the shock from the bag.
Courtesy of and written by CKO Kickboxing, Grand Rapids. REAL PEOPLE use REAL HEAVY BAGS to get REAL RESULTS.
Photo courtesy of CKO Kickboxing.