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Three workouts to rid the winter blues

With less daylight and colder temperatures, many people may begin to feel a little down. The "winter blues" are characterized by mild depression, lack of motivation and low energy.  However staying active will actually boost your energy and improve mild to moderate depression. Taking up a new activity during the winter months is a good way to look forward to winter, rather than dreading its arrival.

Hot yoga

This style of yoga, also known as Bikram yoga, uses heat (105 °F) and humidity (40 percent) to create conditions that warm the muscles. This in turn helps develop strength and flexibility that is hard to achieve in a cooler environment. The warmer room can help increase your energy, heart rate and metabolism, while the rhythmic breathing and poses evokes relaxation. Just like a hot shower or sauna, working out in a hot room can help clear your head and reduce anxiety and stress.

Swimming

With swimming, you can experience the release of feel-good chemicals (endorphins) plus a relaxation response similar to yoga. Swimming is a meditative exercise that can help you drown out distractions, due in large part to the rhythmic sounds of your breath and splash of the water, combined with repetitive movements.

Snowshoeing

The snow-covered ground acts like a cushion, making snowshoeing low impact and easy on the knees. It allows you to get off the beaten path to explore nature and increases your exposure to outdoor light. Even in cloudy conditions, you can experience an increase in serotonin and dopamine levels, both of which play a role in your mood. It’s not just the endorphins that will leave you feeling good, the quiet time to think and enjoy nature is very therapeutic and restorative.

Trying a new activity is a great way to breathe new life into your workout. Plus seeing other people enjoying fun activities indoors or outdoors will help keep your spirits high.

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