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…


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.


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.


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.

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