The cold winter nights and the post-Christmas slump can make all of us feel a bit glum during January. But there are some easy steps you can follow to get rid of the gloom and make January your feel-good month.
Garry Kerr from British Military Fitness has shared his top tips for beating the blues that also keep you fit and healthy- helping you fulfill those New Year's resolutions you made too!
Getting active among the great outdoors has so many more benefits than exercising at home or in a gym. Not only does it burn up to 30 per cent more calories, but it can also help reduce anxiety and depression, lifting your mood and your self-eseteem.
Recent studies show that getting fit in the fresh, open air also increases your concentration as enjoy the natural landscape, helping you keep more focused day-to-day.
Throw out the tension
Feeling tense and uptight will do nothing for your mood, so it's important to learn how to relax. Follow this quick routine for an instant mood boost:
Start by focusing on the muscles in your feet and tense them up for 10 seconds, slowly increasing how intensely you're tensing. After the 10 seconds, relax your muscles fully for 10-20 seconds and allow yourself to think really carefully about just how relaxed you feel.
Then start to move up through your body amd repeat this tensing and relaxing through your calf muscles, the front and back of your thighs, bum, back muscles, chest, shoulders, front and back of arms, and finishing off at your wrists by clenching them. This should take about five minutes and is a great way to release tension in the body you've been building up.
Stretch it out
Keeping well stretched will help you stop tightening up through the day.
Try this simple stretch to start with:
- Start with your feet together and step back onto the flat of the foot
- At the same time lift both your arms up and over your head with your palms facing each other
- As you do this, rotate your upper body to face away from your back leg i.e. move to the right if you're stepping back with your left leg. This action should be smooth and controlled.
- Alternate sides and aim to do about 30 repetitions in total.
Running is a great way to exercise, even if you've never tried it before and is a good way to start building up your exercise if you're not used to doing a lot. What's more it's free and simple to do and can have fantastic effects on your health and your mood.
To get the most out of it, try joining a running group in your area. This allows you to meet lots of new people and make new friendships, boosting your happiness even more.
When you're taking up exercise, it's great to have someone to share the experience with and keep you motivated. Try to find a friend or family member who could go for walks or jogs with you or look for an exercise group you could join where you'll meet a class of like-minded people hoping to get fit and banish the blues too.
Share your fitness goals with each other and then support and encourage each other to stick to them!
- There's more health and fitness ideas in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.