It’s officially winter! Which means holiday cookies, shorter days, colder temperatures and… less motivation to stay active. Who wouldn’t prefer to enjoy holiday treats by the fireside instead of working out? Almost everything about winter makes it harder to get up and get active, but exercising during winter months has multiple health benefits. Some of these benefits include:
- Immune system boost
- Increase energy levels
- Fight the “winter blues”
Immune System Boost
Exercise plays an important role in maintain a healthy immune system. In midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for a robust immune system is more important than ever. Whether you are back to the gym or working out at home, you should get active this winter! Exercise increases your heart rate and causes billions of cells in your blood to circulate at a faster rate. In this circulation are special cells that carry out immune functions such as recognition and killing of viruses-infected cells. Immune cells that are mobilized by exercise are primed and ready to fight. The increased circulation of immune cells during exercises increases immune surveillance, which makes us better equipped to fighting an infection. Exercise also releases specialized proteins such as IL-6, IL-7 and IL-15 that can promote the production of new immune cells and increase our resistance to infection. While exercise will not prevent from expose to COVID-19, staying active can boost the immune system to minimize symptoms and expedite recovery times.
Increase Energy levels
When you’re tired, the last thing you want to do is workout. However, instead of reaching for the coffee pot, you might get more benefits from taking a quick walk. Most of your cells contain a “powerhouse” called a mitochondria that produces chemical energy in the body. Physical exercise is known to stimulate the growth of new mitochondria in the muscles, meaning the ability to create more energy! Exercise also causes us to release feel-good hormones called endorphins. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body that leave you feeling energized and happy after your workout!
Winter in the middle and northern regions of the United States can greatly affect mood. The days sometimes become so short you question the last time you saw the sun. The “winter blues” are usually marked by change in mood, decreased energy and loss of interest. People with winter blues usually engage is less physical activity and prefer sedentary activities. However, an increasing amount of research supports exercise to reduce symptoms of seasonal depression, while improving physical health. A study from researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital reported people who exercise at least several hours a week were less likely to experience symptoms of depression. The study shows positive results with both high-intensity and low-intensity exercise. The researchers suggest 35 minutes a day of aerobic exercise, resistance training, yoga or even dancing can help with the winter blues!
If you want to learn more about creating an exercise routine check out this blog or give us a call today! Direct Access in NJ allows you to get in for an evaluation without you having to see your Doctor, probably quicker than you could even get that appointment, while also saving you both time and money!
Please, call us to schedule you evaluation at one of BeneFIT’s locations in Bridgewater (908.203.5200) or Chester (908.879.5700) with one of our highly-trained Doctors of Physical Therapy!