WHY AM I SO DEPRESSED DURING WINTER?
Every year at this time I become depressed. My energy disappears, I develop constant colds, I don’t sleep well, and I feel weepy. I binge on sugary carbohydrates and my concentration and motivation levels are really low. Come spring, I’m fine again. I know winter depression is common and I don’t want to take anti-depressants, but what else can I do?
It’s clear you have Seasonal Affective Disorder which affects a third of the population. When it’s dark, the brain produces the hormone melatonin, which makes you sleep. When it becomes light, melatonin production is reduced and you wake up. Many of your symptoms are due to low levels of serotonin in the brain which keeps you mentally and physically alert. Other than taking anti-depressants, bright light therapy is worth trying. You can buy a light box emitting at least 2,500 lux but preferably one emitting 10,000 lux. You can choose between a box which you sit in front of, a portable visor which fits on your head shining light into your eyes or a dawn simulator, which mimics a sunrise and wakes you gradually. For light boxes visit www.lumie.com
Make the most of any natural light by going outdoors around midday. Exercise regularly and enjoy fresh fruit and veg with vitamin B12 to curb your carb cravings. Think about taking St John’s Wort, a herbal remedy which can often help. Finally, if you can afford it, why not think about a winter holiday? For more information contact the SAD Association at www.sada.org.uk
Jogging will always rate very high on the calorie burning scale. Hard, challenging and intense exercise is the most effective way to get weight off and keep it off.
Good front crawlers will burn more than that glass of champagne in just 10 minutes! Swimming with any stroke is really good for keeping joints mobile as well as a great cardio fat-burning workout.
Calorie burning varies a lot with skiing depending on your ability. If you can stay upright on your skis then the 95 calories will be burned away in just 12 minutes. If you keep falling over and have to pick yourself up the calorie burn will be considerably more!
Combining arm movements as well as legs will work more muscles and burn a significant number of calories. It has all the advantages of running without the hard impact on your joints, so is a good choice for more mature exercisers or anyone who needs to protect joints.
Playing in the snow is an excellent full body workout. Just walking on soft snow triples the calorie spend of walking on a normal surface and cold weather naturally works the body harder as it tries to maintain its core temperature.
Pilates is often referred to as ‘intelligent exercise with profound results’. It demands high levels of concentration so giving the brain a workout as well as the body. It complements your cardio sessions perfectly as you will be longer and leaner with a great posture. Give it a go!
The use of water in water aerobics is fantastic as it supports the body and reduces the risk of muscle or joint injury. Surprisingly though not as many calories are burned as would be in similar land-based activities as the speed with which movements can be performed is greatly reduced. It is perfect if you are recovering from joint problems or find the usual aerobic sessions too fast and furious.
Get the whole family playing games that gets everybody moving. Charades, Twister and even musical statues for example will get everybody moving about burning up extra calories.
Weight training targets one specific area of the body as opposed to cardio sessions, which work the whole body so they are not so calorie consuming. However, weights help to make every individual muscle a ‘fat eater’. Weight train regularly and your overall fat burning rate increases due to more muscles being in tip top condition!
This is the best way to watch your favourite TV programmes. Instead of just slouching on the couch burning only 1 calorie per minute you can more then treble your output to 3.5 calories per minute whilst ironing. Such knowledge sets you on the path to slimness!
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