Since having children (some years ago now!) I have failed to find any exercise I have been able to stick to and it was getting harder and harder to stay fit.
I have now been training with Olivia for 8 months and really enjoying it. Olivia changes it each session so it’s never boring and always challenging!
With a great temperament, Olivia is very encouraging and keeps the sessions fun.
I’m certainly a lot fitter than I was before I started and somewhat leaner too!
I can highly recommend.
Are you affected by Winter Blues ...?
It’s inevitable that as the winter draws in and days get darker (thanks clock change) that lots of us will start to feel a little down and start to get the ‘winter blues’
A lot of people in the UK suffer from S.A.D, also known as seasonal affective disorder, a mood disorder that causes otherwise positive people to have symptoms of depression ranging from mild to severe in the winter. Symptoms include excessive sleep, tiredness, lack of motivation, hopelessness and low moods, although the severity can range widely between people and from day to day. Whilst the exact cause isn’t known, it’s thought to be to do with low light levels reducing serotonin (the happy hormone) or increasing melatonin (the hormone that allows us to sleep at night). Whatever the cause, it’s an annoying fact of winter for a lot of people, but thankfully it can be managed and reduced. Even for those without SAD, doing some of these management techniques can help with general low mood found around winter.
In winter all I want to do is sleep sleep sleep – biologically scientists think that’s because there used to be less food around in winter and sleeping more would mean using less energy so you didn’t have to eat as much. But nowadays with tesco just down the road and deliveroo at the other end of a phone, we don’t exactly have any food shortages to worry about! Having a good sleep schedule is important at any time of year, but especially when there is no natural light to wake you up. Set yourself a strict bedtime and wake time and try not to deviate from this. That way you’ll be getting enough sleep without getting too much and feeling lethargic from it. I aim to be in bed by 10pm, asleep by 10:15pm and up by 5/6:am everyday. Sleeping more than 9h a night can leave you feeling more tired, and restricting sleep to 8-9h means that when you sleep, you sleep deeper – something we all want and need! (Have a read of our Blog on Sleep for more information)
Now winter is looming it can be hard to find the motivation to exercise but, with 168 hours in the week, spending two or three of them working out is one of the best ways to put you in a sunnier mood.
Exercising in the winter months could improve your immune system
The winter season brings with it extra colds, sniffles and flu. Exercise is a great way to help boost your immune system and fight off illness, as getting your blood pumping helps to circulate immune cells and detect and destroy infection more effectively. Although healthy eating plays a more vital role in immune system development and maintenance, regular exercise is
An important tool in avoiding those extra sick days over winter.
It can help you curb cravings
Diminished sunlight during winter makes serotonin, the mood-enhancing chemical in the brain, less active and unfortunately this shortage leaves you feeling tired and hungry, which can trigger cravings. Although there's nothing better than comfort food when it's cold, if you consume more calories than the body burns AND you skip your workouts, those excess calories will be stored on your body as fat and you will gain weight.
It's important for your wellbeing to stay active during the colder months It can give you a detoxing boost
During winter and the festive season a greater influx of food and alcohol places a greater toxic burden on our liver and it could really do with a bit of support. Moderate exercise increases the blood flow to the liver thereby improving its ability to detoxify waste.
With a lack of natural light being one cause of SAD and low moods, it’s not surprising that getting natural light is on my list of ways to improve symptoms. If you work full time you’ll be familiar with the sad reality of arriving at work in the dark and leaving in the dark, leaving you no time for some sunshine or even any light! Artificial light doesn’t have the right wavelengths to suppress melatonin enough so broad spectrum lights and natural light are the only two that will help with moods. I would 100% recommend getting outside for at least 20 minutes at lunchtime to make the most of the natural light and get some fresh air to keep you awake. I also have a sun lamp – a broad spectrum light that helps me to wake up and produce vitamin D in the winter – I turn it on as soon as I wake up and eat breakfast with it shining on me. I swear by it to help keep my body-clock in check when it always seems dark outside. If you really struggle with SAD I would recommend getting one of these and using it for 30 minutes every morning.
Whilst the winter can leave you reaching for the quickest pick-me-up, it’s important to remember that relying on unhealthy foods for energy can leave you feeling even more down after you eat them, often caused by a sugar crash. High carb meals, whilst delicious, should be saved for days of heavy exercise, as they cause the release of melatonin, which is often what makes you feel sleepy after a big meal. Avoid carb-heavy meals at your desk to avoid this, and try not to increase refined sugar intake, as the crash after your blood-sugar spikes can also cause low moods, not helping the situation. I try to avoid coffee in the winter because I know that if I start I will end up relying on it to feel normal, but on tired days I have some just after lunch to get through the afternoon. Research has shown that if you’re not a morning person, having coffee in the morning can mess up your body clock, making you feel weird and anxious, rather than alert.
So get active and beat those winter blues! Remember Summer Bodies are made in the winter...