3 Ways Exercise Can Help Beat the Winter Blues

Now that the holidays have passed, the days will soon get longer and we’ll have longer sunlight. For some people, though, the winter months are a period where changes in mental health occur. A case of the winter blues is normal for many people, but can it be avoided? Is it something more than feeling down for a few months? Let’s take a look at how exercise can help us feel our best during the winter and stay on top of our mental health.

Benefits of Exercise

Being physically active all year long can have many benefits when it comes to both physical and mental health. A good strength and cardio workout can improve mood, making it a great option as the days get shorter and darker. Many of us are affected by seasonal affective dive disorder (SAD). if you’re one of the millions who has SAD you can feel tired, unmotivated, down on life and even crave sweets. Staying active while recording your workout in your Jefit app can help battle these side effects.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of regular exercise:

  • Exercise Improves Mood & Mental Health
  • Regular Exercise Improves Sleep
  • When You “Do It” You Live Longer

Exercise Can Improve Mood & Mental Health

During each exercise session, the body releases chemicals like endorphins and dopamine that improve our mood and make you feel more relaxed. Another chemical you may not have heard much about is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). It may be the most important chemical released during exercise since it fosters long-term brain health. BDNF acts not only as a growth factor, it also promotes the formation of new connections between nerve cells. As a result, regular exercise helps you manage stress better and reduce your risk of depression.

“People suffering from depression are 2.5 times more likely to have experienced stressful life events. Exercise appears to help buffer these negative life events,” according to the authors of the book, Exercise for Mood and Anxiety.

Regular Exercise Improves Sleep

As I’m sure any physician or exercise expert will tell you, sleep is a critical component for mind and body restoration. With an inadequate amount of sleep, the body will eventually have issues with the recovery and building processes from that days workout. It has a lot to do with your central nervous system (CNS). When the body goes away from getting optimal amount of sleep – no matter what the reasons – the CNS does not get time to fully “recharge” or recover. Why is this even important? Because your CNS is responsible for reaction time and initiating muscle contractions and much more. As a result, the body becomes slower and will feel weaker in workouts.

“Do It” and You’ll Live Longer

Author Dan Buettner of the Blue Zones has spent most of his career studying populations that live longer. The different “blue zones” that he studies are areas from around the world where people were 3 times more likely to reach 100 years old who followed a series of strategies. Two of the more important were the types of food someone ate on a regular basis and daily activity.

Walking more is associated with longer life. Adults who walked 8,000 steps per day had a 51 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality, compared to those who walked 4,000 steps a day as reported by researchers in a JAMA study. Not into walking but you like to run? A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported any amount of running, even once a week, was associated with a 27 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality.

Stay Stronger Together

Try Jefit app, named one of the best apps for 2023 by LifewireGLAMOUR, Appgrooves, and in 2020 & 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual, the Greatist, and many others. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefits exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.