Don’t be SAD – just walk out the door
The allure of your warm bed and the latest boxset might seem irresistible when it’s cold and dark outside, but remember the real mood-booster is staying active.
According to research, around 5% of people in the United States (U.S.) will experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) brought on by a lack of exposure to sunlight, leading a sudden drop in mood and lack of energy.1 Two of the main treatments recommended for SAD are increased exercise and light therapy.2 Every little bit of natural light exposure helps, so try walking to work, going for a run in the early morning, or even having a snowball fight (if it gets that cold) to beat the blues.
Set yourself a challenge
Whether it’s undertaking the popular couch to 5k plan3 or signing up to a marathon, having a goal can give you motivation to continue an exercise plan even in the worst weather. Whatever your motivation and fitness level, there are numerous exercise clubs and events (many of them free) that you can enter.
Make it social
Some people love exercising on their own, but for others who enjoy company and are wary of running alone in the dark and cold, there are lots of free options. One option, Parkrun, organizes free 5km timed runs in more than 500 locations across the world, it’s a great way to meet people in your local area and is easy to join.
Remember, if the weather is completely awful outside, there are plenty of exercises and free online classes4 you can do from the comfort of your own home.
From heart rate monitors, to step trackers, there’s a whole host of technology available now so you can monitor and boost your progress. There’s plenty of smart tech on the market to suit all budgets.
Winter air isn’t just cold, it’s dry too. To protect your skin, drink plenty of water and apply sunscreen with a decent SPF – yes, even on cloudy, winter days your skin can suffer UV damage.5
1. GoodRX Health, Treating the Winter Blues: Are Northern US States the Only Ones at Risk for Seasonal Affective Disorder?, https://www.goodrx.com/healthcare-access/research/us-counties-at-risk-for-seasonal-affective-disorder-based-on-bupropion-fills Published April 5, 2022.
2. National Library of Medicine, Seasonal Depressive Disorder, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK568745/. Last Updated March 26, 2022.
3. Runner’s World, How to go from the couch to 5K in just six weeks, https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/training/5km/a760067/six-week-beginner-5k-schedule/ Published August 5, 2022.
4. Parade, 19 Best Free and Paid Workout Apps for Your Fitness Goals, https://parade.com/970149/ashleylauretta/best-workout-apps/. Written September 30, 2022.
5. American Academy of Dermatology Association, Why You Need Sun Protection in the Winter, https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/sun-protection/shade-clothing-sunscreen/cold-weather. Last updated May 25, 2021.
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