It’s been documented: the winter blues are a real thing. It can be tied to a variety of things. People tend to be a little more unwell in the winter months, especially as colds, flu, and other ailments swirl around in the air. The days are shorter— and they’re colder, too. Going to work can be depressing enough, but it’s worse when you walk both into and out of work the dark, missing all the sunlight. All in all, it’s de-motivating.
There are lots of things that can bring you down in the winter, but there are just as many ways to get around the winter blues - the cheapest and most effective being exercise. Working out naturally boosts health and mood through endorphins, plus it can help manage stress and give you more energy. Kick yourself into gear by repeating: I WILL find time to work out today. Now check out our list of exercises to look into until breathing outside doesn’t hurt your lungs.
- Hate the cold? Try hot yoga.
Any workout will help you generate internal heat, but there’s something to be said about a moving meditation in 100+ degree heat. If you feel like you just can’t warm up, try a heated yoga class (look for Bikram if you want the HOT-hot stuff; many studios are heated, like CorePower, to 80 degrees or so). Beware: it can be addicting.
- Miss biking and roaming the roads? Hit up a spin class.
Yes, you can bike in the winter, but if black ice freaks you out, look up an indoor cycling class. You don’t need a helmet for these rides, and you’ll burn massive calories.
- Dance out your winter frustrations.
Just like the classic angry-dance from Footloose, you too can release some stress through any number of dance-based workouts out there. Look up barre-based workouts to learn a little ballet. Want something a little more upbeat? Check out Zumba or Oula.
- Or martial arts, if dancing isn’t quite your thing.
Karate and the more low-impact counterpart tai chi are making waves. Bonus -since they’re studio-based, you’re out of the cold. Other fighting-type workouts include boxing, mixed martial arts, and more. Theses physical, boot camp-style workouts can be just the kick in the pants you need to beat the cold.
- Save $$ with YouTube or other services
If you don’t have the cash flow right now to join a gym or studio, hop onto YouTube to watch classes in…well, whatever you can think up. There are a variety of other free (ish) services, like Nerd Fitness, Blogilates, or any of these sites compiled by Learnvest.
Note that most studios have some try-out period, where you can attend classes for a week or so to see how you like the workout. It’s tempting in the morning to stay under the warm covers for another hour of sleep. Or to curl up on the couch when the darkness comes at night and veg in front of the TV. But push yourself to get up and move, and it’ll get easier every time.