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Winter Blues: Tips For Staying Active and Beating the Blues!

Winter, especially winters like the one we are enduring this year, can be hard on all of us. In addition, after the excitement of the holiday season, January and February can seem pretty dull.  When it’s -30 degrees, it can be hard to feel motivated to do the things that we know will make us feel better.

Here are some tips for staying happy and healthy during the winter months:

Exercise indoors at a gym or community centre: It sounds obvious, but after the explosion of people at the gym in the first week or two of January, (who hasn’t made a New Year’s resolution to get fit?!) attendance at gyms is actually pretty low during the winter months. And if you think about it, that makes sense. It can seem like so much effort to put on your winter jacket, gloves, scarf, hat, mitts, boots and whatever else you are using to keep you from freezing in this cold weather. You may have to scrape ice off the car to drive to the gym or if you usually walk or use TTC, these options can seem especially daunting. But after all the effort of getting to the gym, it’s totally worth it. It’s warm inside. There is music and people wearing shorts and t-shirts. The environment might even remind you of summer.  After you work out you’ll feel energized and refreshed, and you’ll be proud of yourself for making the effort to go. Reward yourself by taking a long hot shower afterwards and maybe buy a nice cup of hot tea for the commute home.

Try hot yoga.  Hot yoga is exactly what it sounds like – yoga in an extra hot room. Participants will get the same benefits of yoga such as core strengthening, improved balance, and relaxation, but with the added bonus of spending an hour in summer-like temperatures. Bring a towel as you will definitely sweat! Check with your doctor before you start hot yoga to make sure it’s safe for you.

Go skating! There are several outdoor skating rinks in Toronto. Brave the cold, dress warm and lace up your skates! Nathan Phillips Square and the Harbourfront Centre offer free skating in the winter months, and if you don’t have your own skates you can rent a pair from both locations. Skating can make you feel invigorated. As an added bonus, as your blood gets moving, your body will warm up and you’ll feel less cold!

Embrace relaxation. Let’s face it. When it’s freezing cold and snowing outside, sometimes the thought of going out for dinner, going to the movies, socializing with friends – all the things that we usually enjoy – can seem less pleasurable. While it’s important to stay as active as possible during the winter months, sometimes it really is nice to cuddle up on the couch, drink a cup of hot chocolate and watch a movie. Wintery days are the perfect excuse to relax at home!

Take up an indoor hobby. Maybe you always wanted to start watercolour painting. Or maybe you’ve been meaning to sort through all those boxes in your basement. Winter is the perfect time to try new hobbies or get to things around the house. When summer comes and it’s hot and sunny, you’ll probably be outside more. Seize the opportunity to enjoy indoor activities.

Remember that summer is just around the corner. While it seems so far away now, before you know it summer will be back. Yes, it’s been a particularly harsh winter, but the good news is that it won’t last forever! Keep it all relative…this weather makes us appreciate summer so much more!

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