During the winter, when it’s cold and dark and snowy and icy and whatnot, it’s very tempting to just stay inside all day – to get home from work, curl up on the couch, and spend your evening watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory.
And while nobody truly enjoys the idea of going to the gym or hitting the trail for a run when it’s cold outside, the act of exercising is one of the best ways to beat the winter blues.
As it turns out, exercise is your body’s natural way of protecting your mind from the encroaching metaphorical darkness that you experience when there’s actual darkness happening at 4 PM.
Here are just a few of the ways that regular exercise keeps your brain fit.
Boost Your Mood by Getting (Naturally) High
Yes, that’s right – exercise is a really great way to fend off the winter blahs (or Seasonal Affective Disorder) because it gets you higher than a kite.
Or, in Geek Speak:
Extensive research has demonstrated that exercise has a clear mood-boosting effect. Scientific studies show that regular exercise causes your body to release endorphins, a kind of neurotransmitter that interacts with your brain’s opiate receptors to reduce pain, boost your immune system, lower your stress level, and improve your mood.
Some studies have also found that exercise can inoculate you against frustration, preventing anger from building up and keeping you cool as a cucumber.
So if you’re feeling down about the fact that it’s cold and dark and awful out, head to the gym for an invigorating workout and you’ll quickly start feeling better.
Feeling Lethargic? Exercise Gives You the Energy You Need
So we all know that feeling of winter exhaustion. It’s harder to roll out of bed in the morning. It’s harder to get motivated to do work. And in the evenings, all you want to do is stay in.
But with regular exercise, you’ll find yourself zipping around town tackling all of your project work and errands with ease, with tons of energy to spare for socializing with friends and having lots of fun – all winter long.
Regular exercise strengthens your muscles, improves your blood flow, and sends an extra rush of oxygen and nutrients to your body’s tissues – all of which makes you feel stronger, more energetic, and more eager to go out and actually do things. Exercise also prompts your body to produce more ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the compound that powers the cells in your body and gives you the energy to do…well, everything you do. The end result? You’ll start feeling more alert, and you’ll have more mental energy to tackle your work.
The next time you get home feeling drained from your workday, lace up your sneakers for a winter run or head to the gym for a quick workout sesh – you’ll get back home feeling more energized than when you left.
Make Better Stuff at Work with Enhanced Creativity
In a knowledge industry, you depend on your creativity every single day to find innovative new solutions to problems, identify and capitalize on new opportunities, and do your best work. But in the winter, when you just want to hibernate, your brain isn’t necessarily primed to do that great work.
That’s where exercise can help you.
One study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that just 20 minutes of aerobic exercise was enough to create a noticeable improvement in participants’ scores on the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking. When asked to perform a variety of activities like inventing unusual uses for ordinary objects like bricks or tin cans, participants who exercised prior to the test were able to generate more ideas, come up with more original answers, and think of ideas in more categories than participants who didn’t exercise.
Regular exercise during the winter is a great way to stay happy, healthy, productive, and creative. While it may be snowy and unpleasant out, making exercise a priority – whether indoors or outdoors – is a fantastic tactic for improving the quality of both your work and your life.
Interested in more information about getting active this winter? In coLab’s exclusive Winter Survival Kit, you’ll find great health & fitness resources to help you keep up a healthy lifestyle all winter long! Get your Winter Survival Kit now and start getting fit while working on your business at the same time.
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