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Exercise to Combat the Winter Blues

Don’t let the winter blues get you down.

Shorter days, chilly overcast weather and the stress of the holidays can be the perfect recipe for a seasonal emotional slump.

Exercising during the winter months can be very beneficial for your health by giving your heart, lungs and muscles a workout. It can also strengthen your immunity, curb food cravings and burn off extra calories from indulging in rich foods and treats.

When you get your blood pumping, it strengthens your heart muscle and lungs, and helps your immunity system detect and fight invaders such as cold and flu viruses more effectively.

The shorter amounts of sunlight we get in the winter months means our bodies usually produce more serotonin, a complex chemical that can make you feel drowsy or moody and has been linked to a diagnosed condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) also known as “winter depression.”

A short run, brisk walk or other winter sports help our bodies produce more endorphins, which are the feel-good chemicals that help us feel satisfied, energetic and alert.

If it’s hard to squeeze in a trip to the gym, here are a few easy ways to incorporate more exercise into your day:

Park in the farthest spot to clock some extra steps

Skip the elevator and hike up the stairs on your way to work

Walk to a restaurant several blocks away to get your lunch

Do lunges up and down the hallway

Vacuum, dust, scrub or do other housework

Take the dog for a walk

When tidying your house, put away one item at a time so you get extra steps

Play hide and seek with your children around the house