It’s still cold outside… so we tend to do less sports and activities and we end up spending more of our free time indoors, not being as active as we might be during other seasons. Cold weather demotivates us not only because of low temperatures, but also because there is less sunshine and the lack of it, accompanied by a sedentary lifestyle could drive us into a Seasonal Affective Disorder.
So in order to prevent mood swings, lack of energy, weight gain or sleep problems, here are a few tips to stay fit both mentally and physically before spring finally comes our way. Our mind and body work as one, so it is as important to be physically healthy, as it is to have a fit mind. Keeping our brains fit will benefit us in several ways, boosting our cognitive abilities and also improving our general wellbeing.
To keep our intellects sharp we can engage in challenging games or try to solve complicated puzzles, in addition to taking online classes about subjects that interest us and that during the warmer months we would not take, tempted by outdoor life after working hours. Another option is to start learning a new language, as recent studies have shown that this may even help increase the size of our brains, in addition to having other potential cognitive benefits.
But, as we should all know by now, our mind and our body do not work separately and the best food for thought is not always metaphorical. A balanced diet, as well as a reduced consumption of alcoholic drinks, in addition to avoiding smoking or taking on other unhealthy habits and getting enough sleep can help us keep have a clear enough mind we can then train.
In addition to this, a very important factor that highly influences our overall wellbeing is exercise. During winter we tend to exercise less even without noticing it. Those long walks back home during the spring or summer months are transformed into a cab or subway ride when the weather is too cold and all we want is to go from one sheltered space to another.
If you’re an outdoor exerciser, you either have the option of finding the proper outfit and time of day to carry on with your usual routine or you might want to switch to a gym only until the temperature rises again. However, you can also do simple exercises at home that will keep you healthy – physically, mentally and emotionally – during the bluest season of them all.
Bodyweight exercise – which does not require the use of machines or free weights – is a great option in this case as you get both cardio and strength training. From doing pushups to inchworms or leg lifts, there are several routines you can choose from to meet your needs. If you’re into yoga, then you already know that all it takes is a mat and perseverance to do one hour of it on a daily basis. Both of these options can be done at home, while its cold outside.
Whatever your choice of mental and physical exercise is for the winter, remember the importance of keeping these two dimensions fit, especially during a season in which maintaining an overall balance (body and mind) is more difficult and therefore more pressing. At the end of the day, you’ll even find you’ve forgotten that spring is not here yet and, what’s more, imagine all the exercise you’ll get done in the warmer seasons if you challenge yourself to keep active during winter. Acknowledging the benefits of keeping a sharp mind and body all year long will surely bring you present and future satisfactions.