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I’m not sure why, exactly, but when the weather lowers its thermostat and autumn begins to push summer off the horizon, many people come down with a nasty case of the blues. The older generation often refers to this time of year as a “lonely time.” I’m not sure if the reasons boil down to young people going back to school, less sunshine, or neither or both – but the reasons aren’t nearly as important as putting a smile back on life’s face.
The problem is, most people, when they’re down, tend to stay down. Literally. They’ll hit the couch or maybe even the bed and figuratively pull the covers up around their ears. While it sounds pretty cozy, it’s the worst possible thing to do when you’re out of sorts, emotionally. If you’re sick or tired, going to bed’s a brillaint option, but if you’re down in the dumps, it seals your fate.
One of the best things you can do when the blues hit is to hit them back with activity. Activity actually works, not only on the lightest shade of “blues,” but on mild to moderate depression as well.
It’s not clear just how exercise improves depression. It seems to raise the levels of chemicals in the brain that elevate mood. Even endorphins, natural pain killers, rise with sustained physical activity!
There’s more to it than just a rise in feel good chemicals, though. Exercise makes you feel as though you are in control of your life. When you regularly exercise, you realize that you’re taking active steps in improving your health and appearance. This realization, alone, has been proven to make people feel better about themselves.
You should look for an aerobic activity that’ll raise your pulse for at least 30 minutes a day. If you’re just beginning to exercise, for the first few days, you should start out fairly easy – just exert yourself until you feel tired. Then, move toward the stage where you exercise until you’ve worked up a sweat. That’s when those feel good chemicals will start to buzz all around you!
Try to get at least 30 minutes of activity at least 4 days a week. If you can do more, all the better.
Most importantly, choose an activity you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you probably won’t keep it up very long. You want to engage yourself in an activity that you love so much you actually look forward to doing it. For me, I love walking and yoga. If I know I’m going to do one or the other at a particular time, I look forward to it all day.
A really, really great idea would be to start TODAY. Why not hit the pavement now??? If you’re nowhere near the doldrums, don’t let that stop you. Think of it as a preventive measure: If you start getting more activity right now, maybe you’ll be able to avoid the blues altogether.
Wouldn’t that put you ahead of the game?!
Make each move count double,
Photo Credit: Photo Everywhere