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Get outdoors – how fresh air and exercise can boost mood

Spring always lifts the mood. Those first initial days when the temperature hints at the summer to come, and your journey home from school or work is in daylight, rather than the gloom of winter.

Many people blame the winter months for low mood. Seasonal Adjustment Disorder may not be a recognized medical condition in the truest sense of the word, but it does give a lot of people a reason why they feel so low during the darkest months, and why their mood lifts come April. 

The truth is that even in winter days being out in the fresh air can reinvigorate mood. The winter sun is still just that, the winter sun, and pulling up the drawbridge and hiding from the world for several months will not do anyone’s mental health any good. 

Come rain or shine, spending time outdoors can do wonders for both your physical and mental health. If the residents with limited mobility of Coventry can come out on their mobility scooters in the depths of a cold February to get their dose of Vitamin , there’s scant excuse for anyone else.

Move away from screens and into the fresh air

It’s so easy not to bother making the effort to get out when the weather is against you. However, even 10 minutes of fresh air will make you feel significantly better. 

When you’re outside, you’re breathing in fresh air, which is cleaner and richer in oxygen than indoor air. This can help improve your respiratory system, increase your energy levels, and give you a mental boost. The more time you spend outside, the more motivated you feel to do more. Too much time is spent looking at screens which ruins your eyes. You need to get out, look up and away, and breathe deep.

Get outdoors – how fresh air and exercise can boost mood

Get your daily dose of vitamin D

Every time your skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol. The myth is that it needs to be hot, constant sun. It doesn’t. Even the winter sun can give you enough vitamin D to keep you topped up.

Vitamin D is crucial for bone health, immune function, and mood regulation. Just make sure to protect your skin with sunscreen to avoid sun damage. 

A little bit of exercise every day

Winter can cause us to be a little sedentary. Sitting on the sofa knowing you should be doing something more active, but having little energy or motivation to do so is a self perpetuating cycle, leading into low mood and ultimately depression. 

Yet even just a few minutes every day in the fresh air can release the endorphins in the brain, which act as a completely natural, completely safe, antidepressant (unlike the synthetic antidepressant prescribed by doctors). That first move outside is the most difficult, but ultimately the most powerful.

And while you’re out and about, you are allowing yourself the time and space to reconnect with nature. There are many studies that intricately link emotional wellbeing to spending time in the great outdoors, positioning it as the perfect antidote to depression.

Getting a good night’s sleep

Sleep is probably the best medicine in the world. When you’re sleeping you are giving your body the opportunity to restore and repair itself, boosting your immune system, reducing stress, and even helping with weight control.

Do you remember as a kid you were always encouraged outside to play? Your mother knew that the fresh air would induce a good nights sleep. The same goes for adults too. A bout of fresh air rejuvenates the oxygen in the blood promoting a better quality of sleep.

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