With the days getting shorter, colder, and darker, it is no wonder we lose our motivation to exercise during the winter months, however, it is this season that it becomes even more important to get moving.
Winter has been associated with increased symptoms of depression. This could be due to a decrease in the amount of vitamin D we receive from the sun but a sure-fire way to start
feeling better is by exercising.
It is no secret, exercise stimulates the release of a chemical called endorphins which bind to receptors in the brain and help us feel good as well as reducing the perception of pain.
Exercise reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, reduces stress, improves sleep and self-esteem and has a vast number of physiological benefits such as reducing the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease.
So, what exercise should you be doing? Well, primarily, that which you enjoy!
You are more likely to continue exercising if you are doing something you like such as taking the dog for a walk, playing squash with some mates, attending classes at a gym, or even dancing.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day at a moderate intensity. Try to include a variation of both cardio (walking, running, cycling, swimming) with some resistance exercises. This doesn’t need to involve attending a gym and can be completed at home. An example of a home circuit without the use of weights could be 10x chair dips, 10x lunges, 10x squats and a 1 minute plank that you repeat three times.
As we age, it becomes more important for us to do resistance exercises as we lose lean mass (muscle) and gain fat mass often without changing our weight so it can be hard to tell.
Decrease in muscle in older adults can lead to frailty, increased risk of falls and fractures, dependence on others and a reduced quality of life.
Just remember, some physical activity every day is better than none so get out there and get moving!
By Kim Jones, Nutritionist, Total Nutrition and Health
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