Break a sweat outdoors
Taking up a new exercise outdoors most mornings during the winter months will help you get more of that essential sunshine needed to treat your SAD or winter blues
Those living with SAD and winter blues often learn to adapt their lifestyle where possible during the winter, moving high-energy projects to other times of the year. “Rather than resisting the condition, it is better to acknowledge it, learn how it works and make appropriate changes,” advises Helen Hanson. Exercise, however, should be a constant.
Helen continues: “Try to get plenty of sleep and relaxation, eat a healthy diet and spend as much time as possible outside in natural daylight or near windows. You should also try to include exercise in your new lifestyle. It is one of the most effective ways of alleviating depression.”
Running or bootcamp classes can have positive effects on SAD and winter blues. According to Paul Smith, manager and master trainer at the UK Outdoor Fitness Group, “If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, getting outside and exercising will help to alleviate the symptoms by introducing more daylight to your system and by involving you in activities that are fun.
“Staying cooped up indoors all winter isn’t beneficial for your health… Getting out gives you a chance to breathe fresh air… and gives you a sound mind and body workout.”
There are plenty of running groups in cities and towns across Australia offering great support so you can meet with others and get outdoors. A running group or bootcamp lead by qualified professionals can offer plenty of advice for a good diet and how to exercise safely outside during winter. To get you started, here are three essential tips for winter runners…
WARM UP IN THE COLD
A good warm-up is important in winter. Start slow with gentle running or walking. Gradually increase your pace until, after 7-10 minutes, you reach the pace you’ll maintain for most of the run. To stretch, do walking lunges or high-knee skips.
GET IN THE RIGHT GEAR
When running, wear shoes that have decent traction so you can maintain grip on icy or snowy surfaces. Trail-running shoes work very well. If there’s too much snow, try lightweight boots that bend with you but can also wick off annoying snow and moisture.
PROTECT YOUR SKIN
Before you go outside, make sure to apply moisturiser on your skin to keep itching and dryness away. Invest in a ski-mask or hoodie to protect your neck, head and face from bitter wind. Pull a hat over your ears if you don’t have a ski mask.