Days are becoming colder and darker and all most of us want to do is stay tucked away in bed, under the cosy duvet. For many, that means dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), sometimes known as ‘winter depression’ due to symptoms being more apparent and more severe during the winter. SAD impacts many people this time of year. Here are ways to combat SAD and stay on track with your fitness goals.
Seasonal depression is a real thing. This type of depression is usually triggered by the change of season every three months. A study of 840 000 adults shown found that waking up just one hour earlier could reduce an individual’s risk of developing major depression by 23%. Consistent exercise has also been shown to help reduce anxiety and depression.
“It’s tough to break the duvet shackles on winter mornings,” says coach Steve Atwell – founder of the triathlon training Group, Embark. “But just do it! Suck up the chill, get your training gear on and get out. The endorphins you feel after your session outweigh the in-bed feeling,” he says. And it’s true – studies have long shown the immediate and long-term mental health and physical benefits of early rising and regular exercise.
Getting plenty of regular exercise, particularly outdoors and in daylight to help combat SAD, is among the proven methods of treatment.
Easy Hacks to Get An Early Workout In Each Winter Morning
- Set a consistent alarm every day so that your body gets used to waking up earlier and while it is still dark outside. Go to bed earlier to help with the transition.
- A dawn light can be really helpful to mimic the sun rising and wake you up easier.
- Pack exercise clothes in your gym bag the night before so that all you have to do is wake up, put them on and get going.
- Rope in some buddies and friends because knowing that you’ve got people to meet or a class to get to, will make you more likely to follow through.
- Commit to a race during – or towards the end of– winter to keep you working on your fitness goals.