Working out in winter can do wonders

Cold weather and darker days may have an affect on your mood, researchers say.  Some people get Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during the winter months, which is basically the blues brought on from lack of sunlight. Dr. Michael Craig Miller, senior editor for Harvard Health Publishing, writes in his article, “Seasonal Affective Disorder: Bring on the Light,” that light therapy can help alleviate symptoms of moodiness, fatigue and sadness until sunny weather returns. Light boxes are a popular way to beat the winter woes.

Photo credit Pixabay

In addition to more light, you can get moving with physical fitness. Exercise has been proven to boost energy and produce a natural high. However, some people find it hard to workout during the winter because they can’t get to the gym in the snow; the icy roads won’t allow them to attend yoga class regularly; or they can’t walk a mile a day with their friends as they did in the summer.

But take heart. There are winter workouts that you can do in your home that can keep you feeling fit and energetic until the cold weather passes.

Winter might be the perfect time to consider creating a home gym.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive —  one room or even a corner of a room will do. Also, you don’t have to purchase large, pricey equipment including  treadmills or stationary bikes.

  1. Dumbbells

Dumbbells are a staple of fitness and exercise that have been around for many years, and their purpose is to build muscle and strength by repetition. On their own, dumbbells take up very little room, but if you do have the extra space, you can add a weight bench to your workout, especially when you get into heavier weights and need the extra support lying down. When using them in just your hands alone, you’re giving your arms, shoulder and upper body a workout.

  1. Yoga mat

Yoga is a low-impact, high-yield workout. It’s great for circulation, breathing, balance and overall toning and strength. But to do yoga correctly, a good yoga mat is needed. Yoga mats are not created equal. You want to look for thickness, texture, stickiness, and of course, price.

  1. Bosu Balance Trainer

This little, fitness piece promotes strength, balance, and endurance. It’s portable, so you can use it in your home gym or take it to another room for a change of scenery. Turn it over and you can use it for core workouts. Its versatility and affordability are appealing and makes a great addition to your workout space.

  1. Adaptable resistance bands

As the name suggests, adaptable resistance bands allow you to work on strength and toning through resistance. They have a small but powerful design and can go wherever you go. They work effectively by holding them in your hands and stretching the bands apart and then back again. Or, you can secure one under your foot, pull upward, then relax and repeat.  If you have elderly members in your household with mobility issues, they may enjoy a light workout by simply using them while sitting in their favorite chair.

A workout is beneficial to the mind and body connection, so cold winter weather doesn’t have to be a deterrent. A home gym can be as simple and inexpensive as you need it to be, and the equipment doesn’t have to break your budget.

Author: Jason Lewis

Andrew Vertson

Andrew Vertson

Andrew received his Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from California State University, Fresno in 1991. He then earned his Master’s degree of Physical Therapy in 1996 and his Doctorate degree of Physical Therapy in 2002 from Loma Linda University. In 1996 he also earned his Certification as an Athletic Trainer. He has also completed extensive post-graduate course work in orthopedic manual therapy through Kaiser-West Los Angeles and the Ola Grimsby Institute.
Andrew Vertson

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