Fall is officially here and we all know whats coming for the next eight months. It’s exciting, we do love the storms high seas and big winds it is one of the many reasons we live here. But something I hear over and over again is the moaning about winter weight gain and depression. That does not have to be. Why not make a vow right now to not let that happen this year? Let fall of 2011 be the beginning of a new way to do the winter on the north Oregon coast.
We are having our first storms of the season and it can be a bit shocking, we spent the last couple months enjoying lots of light and warm temperatures. We walked on the beach, went for bike rides and sat outside. That made us feel better, we all have smiles on our faces, but now it’s changing, it is dark in the morning when we get up, and it is getting darker earlier. If you start your new habits now before the weightlessness of summer leaves you then you will be ahead of the game. Please don’t wait until you are feeling miserable and low to inspire yourself to do “something about it”. You can still have that summer kind of smile throughout the winter.
First you need to ask yourself “who is in charge of your life”. Then when you answer yourself that you are and no one else then you are on your way to taking control. Your thoughts control your actions and in turn affect your behavior and thus your moods.
Focus on doing one thing at a time. If it is your time to exercise then do it and think of nothing else that you “need” to do because you already decided that this is one of those things. Accomplish that and it will set you up for feeling focused all day.
All of us on the coast get hit with the dark day blues but even if you do not suffer from depression, you will benefit emotionally from half an hour of exercise; feeling instantly invigorated, lighter and happier. You need to get out and exercise every day to help keep your body and your brain healthy. Exercise is useful in controlling feelings of depression and anxiety for a number of reasons;
• While exercising your body produces endorphins or feel-good chemicals which make you feel instantly better and happier; effects last for some time after you stop exercising. These chemicals may also help combat depression.
• Exercise removes the build-up of stress hormones in the body which can undermine wellbeing, causing problems such as headaches, fatigue, and loss of concentration, problems sleeping and many other mental and physical symptoms.
• Exercise can provide focus; having new goals provides direction, and obtaining those goals however big or small breeds a sense of achievement and self confidence.
• Exercise gives a feeling of release from problems; you can abandon responsibilities and concentrate on the purely physical; controlling your breathing, running for that extra half a mile, following a class etc.
• Exercise can provide a change of scene, getting people out of their homes and routines, meeting new people and feeling less isolated. Group exercise can provide a sense of belonging, even if it is just smiling at the other runners or walkers in the park. Joining a team or class provides opportunities for social contact beyond the normal sphere of your life and its attendant stresses, and can make a refreshing change.
• Exercise can boost self-esteem, gaining new skills, improving body image, becoming fitter, and looking healthier.
• The benefits of exercise last longer than quick-fixes such as comfort-eating, smoking, or drinking tea or coffee, all of which may contribute to the problem.
Walking is one of the best ways to get in extra exercise throughout the day. Start a new habit!
· Get up 15 minutes early and start your day with a brisk walk around the block. Use this time to think about your day and what you want to accomplish.
Hiking in the fall is by far the most wonderful time to be out there.
· Research some great places to hike nearby, so on your next day off have field trip day planned. That will give you a goal and something to look forward to.
Indoor strength training is perfect for those really stormy days.
· It’s time to look into getting home gym set up or joining a local facility. My next article is going to cover that topic.
Fall is a time of year to recommit yourself to exercise; it is good for the mind, the body and the soul!