Beat the Winter Blues

By Coach Mel

I know you feel it… Fall is coming. I don't know about you but that old Triumph song keeps playing in my head: "Days grow shorter and the nights are gettin’ long..." and it's true - Every year it seems like fall just sneak-attacks us leaving some of us hopeless; with the onset of fall comes the worry of winter. Less daylight, less ideal weather for outdoor-play, namely rain.  It is a time of year where depression rises and people tend to hibernate. Your energy might feel lower, you might turn to more comforting foods that are inherently heavier and less nutritious, maybe you walk less, bike less, drive more, all creating a cocktail of general malaise. 

Bummed yet? The good news is there is hope. Our bodies are genius and have an answer for most things that afflict us. One answer to this particular quandary: Endorphins. 

Scientifically speaking an Endorphin is an endogenous opioid neuropeptide produced by the central nervous system and pituitary gland. It is a morphine-like substance that is made within your body. The main function of an endorphin is to block feelings of pain but they also produce a natural high feeling when released. Simply put, they make us feel good. One of the best ways to get your body to release large amounts of endorphins into your system is by engaging in regular high-intensity exercise. These endorphins exist but we have to call upon them. 

So as winter comes we have to make a game plan. Here are some tips: 

Make a workout schedule: Tell yourself, and put it in your planner just like you would a meeting at work, that you are going to workout X, Y, and Z days and times and get those endorphins flowing. Always wanted to be your own boss? Now you are. Don't miss your appointment. If you are a POINT member, sign up for these classes ahead of time. Don't tell yourself that you'll "see if you are done working in time" or that you’ll “decide in the morning." 92% of the time you won't go. I just made up that statistic but I am guessing I'm not too far off the mark. If you don't want to let your boss down why would you let yourself down? 

Make a nutrition plan: You could do the E.A.T. (Eat Actual Things) Challenge beginning in October as a great way to kick off healthy eating in the winter. We do the thinking, you make the food. At the very least you could pledge to make your meals on the weekend and have your breakfasts and lunches ready to bring to work with you so you aren't left hangry at your desk ready to bee-line it for the vending machine. Been there? Yesterday? Uh huh. 

Bottom line: This happens every year, let's not lose the good fit fight in 2015. Treat your body how it deserves to be treated. Take advantage of the natural feel-good chemicals already in your body that are ready to work. Schedule workouts and plan your meals. The winter will be a much happier place if you do. 

For more information on the E.A.T. Challenge come to the meeting Thursday, September 24th at 7:30pm. Sign up for the meeting here and check out portlandoutdoorindoor.com/nutrition.