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How exercise can help you beat the winter blues

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As the nights draw in and temperatures begin to drop, it can be tempting to go into hibernation mode. However, the colder months are actually a great time to be as active as ever because not only can they help you get the most out of your workouts, but exercise can be the trick to staving off the winter blues.

Speedflex Trainer Ed Hall explains how using exercise can help you stay happy and positive this winter exclusively to HELLO! Online…

exercise winter© Photo: PA
Exercising can help you beat the winter blues

It could improve your immune system

The winter season brings with it extra colds, sniffles and flu. Exercise is a great way to help boost your immune system and fight off illness, as getting your blood pumping helps to circulate immune cells and detect and destroy infection more effectively. Although healthy eating plays a more vital role in immune system development and maintenance, regular exercise is an important tool in avoiding those extra sick days over winter.

It can help you curb cravings

Diminished sunlight during winter makes serotonin, the mood-enhancing chemical in the brain, less active and unfortunately, this shortage leaves you feeling tired and hungry, which can trigger cravings. Although there's nothing better than comfort food when it's cold, if you consume more calories than the body burns AND you skip your workouts, those excess calories will be stored in your body as fat and you will gain weight.

winter sports© Photo: PA
It's important for your wellbeing to stay active during the colder months

It can give you a detoxing boost

During winter and the festive season, a greater influx of food and alcohol places a greater toxic burden on our liver and it could really do with a bit of support. Moderate exercise increases the blood flow to the liver thereby improving its ability to detoxify waste. 

It can improve your mood by releasing endorphins

Winter is the hardest time to remain positive, motivated and productive, especially during your gym workouts. Although you can't make a difference to the weather you can improve your mood and psychological state through exercise. In fact, studies show that exercise helps to boost endorphins, the feel-good hormones – although you need to take part in heavy weights or training that incorporate anaerobic exertion to reap the benefits. Furthermore, exercise can help combat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) a type of "winter depression" where symptoms are more apparent and severe during winter.

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