Winter in Indiana can feel like a slow death. Gray skies suck your energy, and the end of Daylight Saving Time brings an early darkness. Don’t let it drag you down; this year, try these proactive steps to keep mind and body healthy.
1.) Vitamin D performs all kinds of super important functions in your body. It works with calcium to fortify your bones; helps regulate your immune system and neuromuscular system; and is important to the life cycle of your cells.
“Vitamin D is so important that your body makes it by itself–but only after skin exposure to sufficient sunlight,” according to WebMD. “This is a problem for people in northern climates. In the U.S., only people who live south of a line drawn from Los Angeles to Columbia, S.C., get enough sunlight for vitamin D production throughout the year.”
The end of Daylight Saving means it’s time to beef up your intake. Increase your consumption of salmon and other foods rich in Vitamin D. And because it’s difficult to get enough from your diet, talk to your doctor about options for supplementation.
2.) Exercise offers a one-two punch when the weather leaves you dragging. One, it produces endorphins that can lift your mood, which in turn can make you feel more enthusiastic about working out again, which can lift your mood even further. Neat how that works, right?
Two, extra exercise in the winter can help your body cope with the holiday and comfort foods that you consume when the weather outside is frightful. You can burn calories with cardio; grow calorie-burning muscles with weight training; and even dampen your appetite with regular workouts.
The end of Daylight Saving Time may bring a spirit-squelching darkness, but you don’t have to succumb. Increase your Vitamin D intake and your exercise this year to help chase away the winter blues.
(And if you experience severe mental or physical reactions to the lack of light, talk to your doctor about seasonal affective disorder .)