Avoiding Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

sherri-snow-runAs we venture into the cold, dark and rainy season, it’s important to understand that this lack of sunlight often causes many to experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or the Winter Blues. But the good news is it doesn’t have to be this way and there are things that you can do to continue to feel great, avoid winter depression and stay in great shape all winter long.

It’s easy to understand why people don’t get as much activity in the winter and tend to hunker down and gain weight. I mean who wants to go for a run, bike or hike when it’s cold and rainy outside?

Here’s some easy to follow tips that will help to avoid S.A.D.:

Get Outside Anyways:

Being outdoors even if it’s cloudy and rainy, still exposes you to some levels of daylight, UV Rays and Vitamin D and will help to prevent S.A.D. So toughen up and just know that enduring a little rain has never hurt anyone and will build character and make you stronger!

Take Advantage of the Sunny Days:

In the Northwest, we are treated to random days of sunshine during the fall and winter months so ALWAYS be sure to get outside on those days even for just 15-20 minutes and soak up some Vitamin D.

Invest in Good Gear:

If you have the right gear, you can still get outdoors when it’s cold and wet without feeling miserable. So head to your favorite local sporting retailer like Fleet Feet to get some warm and waterproof clothing. Investing a little more money in some high-end gear will make your outdoor adventures so much more enjoyable!

Find Some Friends:

You need to find yourself some hard-core friends that get out there no matter what to help inspire and motivate you. It’s true that running in the rain, cycling when it’s cold or hiking when you’re clouded in at the top is a lot more fun with others and when you’re involved in great conversations or post-workout festivities (coffee, beer, warm soup…) We are very fortunate in Vancouver to have many fun running and biking groups and opportunities accessible (and often free or very low charge) pretty much on any day of the week! #NOEXCUSES

Sign Up for a Local Race:

There is nothing like setting a goal and registering for a race to keep you motivated with your training throughout the winter. It will put purpose to your workouts! Maybe you’ve never done an organized event before so try a 5K, or maybe you’ve done a 5K or 10K and are ready to tackle a Half Marathon? Maybe you want to start cross training and are ready to try a Triathlon, Duathlon or AquaBike? Regardless, one of the best ways to get your training on track, get in the best shape of your life and guarantee you cross the finish line, is to register, set the intention and lock in your commitment. Here’s the list of local event organizers so you can set your schedule of races all winter long.

Embrace Winter Activities:

Try some of the more popular winter sports.  You may find a love for an activity that you will get you outdoors all winter long and keep you in great shape.  So whether it’s skiing, snowboarding, snow-shoeing, sledding or cross-country skiing, there are many outdoor winter activities that will keep your heart pumping, adrenaline flowing and keep you looking and feeling your best all winter long!

Try the Indoor Version:

You can still keep your routine going strong by trying the Indoor versions of your favorite sport.  If you’re storing your road bike for the winter, now would be a great opportunity to start taking an indoor cycling class. If you like water sports, you might sign up for an Indoor Rowing program. If you like to run, get on the treadmill.  Or if you like to hike, try out the Stairclimbing machines. As a reminder, as a loyal, avid Columbian newspaper reader, you get 2 weeks FREE at my fitness and training studio and can come and try out our Indoor Cycling, Rowing, Bootcamps, Muscle Conditioning, Core Conditioning, Yoga, Zumba classes and more. Just email me at sherri@nwpersonaltraining.com and I’ll make sure you get set up. It’s super motivating to be around other go-getters during the winter months when your motivation may be low.

Try Something New:

Since your outdoor activity is decreasing, it’s a great opportunity to try a brand new activity or focus on an area that you’d like to improve on. If you like to dance, try a Zumba class and get a good sweat on.  Sign up for a Rock-climbing course at The Source Rockclimbing gym. The cold and wet season is a perfect time to enroll in a Hot Yoga class. Maybe you’ve always want to try a Ballet Bar workout.

Focus on Strength Training:

Winter is a great time to increase your muscle conditioning workouts and develop your strength and endurance that can help you when you increase your outdoor, sports and cardio activity in the spring and summer.  So use this down-season to really focus on strengthening your entire muscular and connective tissue system. If you don’t know where to start, consult with a trainer who can custom-design a program for you based on your muscular weaknesses, imbalances and goals.

Join a Gym or Training Studio:

Being around other like-minded individuals on a mission to stay healthy and fit will help to maintain your energy and commitment to your fitness program. All gyms including our Personal Training studio experience an influx of clients coming back to seek refuge from the colder, wetter NW weather. And now with many of the cost-effective options like Planet Fitness at $10/month or LA Fitness at $30/month, there really are no reasons you can’t find room in your budget to commit to your health and fitness.

Time for a Vacation:

Many people benefit from scheduling a trip to the sun during the rainy months to help get their bodies through this time of year – whether it’s just a weekend trip to California, Vegas or Arizona – or even the sunnier areas of the NW – or maybe a trip to Hawaii or Mexico during Winter or Spring break…A trip to the sun will definitely do the trick!

If you do things right, you can actually look and feel your best while enjoying these next 5-6 months in the Northwest versus dreading them!

Join us for….

COUVE CLOVER RUN – 3, 7 & 10 MILES – March, 26th 2017
We will make you earn your post-event party by running or walking 3, 7 or 10 miles, but it will be off the charts hosted by Main Event and other downtown Vancouver Pubs & Breweries.

Note:  As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started.  Contact 360.574.7292 for more details.

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at nwpersonaltraining.com.

Scroll to top