• Sara Theresa

Fitness&: Fitness & Winter Blues

Fitness& is a series of articles that delves into the connection between fitness, exercise, and movement with other complimentary topics.




In this edition of Fitness&, we explore Fitness and the connection to winter time and to "winter blues."  

The term "winter blues" is often used during during cold, wintery months.  It can affect people in a serious manner, especially when it comes to one's ability to have the energy and motivation to work out.  Winter blues is the feeling of depression or deep unhappiness associated with experiencing the cold and darkness of winter.


Our body’s main source of vitamin D is the sun.  With less direct sunlight, make sure to get some additional vitamin D through healthy foods, like fatty fish.  Vitamin d is even essential for proper cardio-respiratory fitness.


Before you put your gym membership on hold, or stop/reduce your exercise routine, consider the winter blue fighting capabilities of fitness and exercise.


Exercise can reduce feelings of isolation: Group fitness classes (virtually and on-site) may help a person to feel less isolated.  Grab your best fitness buddy and put a fitness date on your calendars and meet up.   If you write down the specific date and time, there is a smaller chance of canceling on another person


Exercise can potentially help with your immune system: Although there is no direct connection in the research to link exercise to immune system development, there are some proposed theories to support it: Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness.Exercise causes change in antibodies and white blood cells (WBC). WBCs are the body's immune system cells that fight disease. These antibodies or WBCs circulate more rapidly, so they could detect illnesses earlier than they might have before. However, no one knows whether these changes help prevent infections.The brief rise in body temperature during and right after exercise may prevent bacteria from growing. This temperature rise may help the body fight infection better. (This is similar to what happens when you have a fever.)Exercise slows down the release of stress hormones. Some stress increases the chance of illness. Lower stress hormones may protect against illness.


Exercise can help reduce winter weight gain: The research shows that on average, people move approximately 11 fewer minutes per day in the winter than during the summer.  Set an alarm during your week day every 30 minutes to ensure you are getting enough steps and movement during the day.

It is important to know when to know it if it more than the winter blues.  Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year.  Symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.


The specific reasons for Seasonal Affective Disorder are not known.  The Mayo Clinic has outlined some potential reason below:

  • Your biological clock (circadian rhythm). The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may cause winter-onset SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body's internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.

  • Serotonin levels. A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in SAD. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.

  • Melatonin levels. The change in season can disrupt the balance of the body's level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.

  • Your biological clock (circadian rhythm). The reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter may cause winter-onset SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body's internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.

  • Serotonin levels. A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, might play a role in SAD. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.

  • Melatonin levels. The change in season can disrupt the balance of the body's level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.

  • Take a moment to check in with yourself and see how the winter months may be affecting your exercise routine.

#winterblues #seasonaldepression #seasonalaffectivedisorder


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Writer's Note:

You are never aloneSAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.

BoldBeats Fitness by Sara.  'Shake that!'