Is The Weather Affecting You?

I don’t know about you, but for me, weather often affects my moods.  Sunlight breaking through clouds can lift my spirits, while a dull, rainy day may make me feel a little gloomy.  While noticeable, these common shifts in mood generally do not affect people’s ability to cope with daily life.  Some folks, however, are vulnerable to a type of depression that follows a seasonal pattern.  For them, the shortening days of late autumn are the beginning of a type of clinical depression that can last until spring.  This condition is called “Seasonal Affective Disorder,” or SAD.

A mild form of SAD, often referred to as the “Winter Blues,” causes discomfort, but is not incapacitating.  I think many of us may experience the effects of these weather induced Blues…  Especially when the gym is so cold! 😉 Being chilly all day and feeling uninspired by the weather can really wreak havoc on your drive to stay healthy and active.

SAD can be difficult to diagnose. Generally, symptoms that recur for at least 2 consecutive winters, without any other explanation for the changes in mood and behaviour, indicate the presence of SAD.  They may include:

• change in appetite, in particular a craving for sweet or starchy foods
• weight gain
• decreased energy
• fatigue
• tendency to oversleep
• difficulty concentrating
• irritability
• avoidance of social situations
• feelings of anxiety and despair

Research in Ontario suggests that between 2% and 3% of the general population may have SAD.  Another 15% have a less severe experience described as the “Winter Blues.”  An even larger percentage likely have occasional feelings of the winter “blahs” that aren’t as persistent, and come and go depending on the day.

People with severe symptoms should definitely consult a professional.  But those of you with milder symptoms can benefit from spending more time outdoors during the day and by arranging your environment so that you receive maximum sunlight.  Trim tree branches that block light, for example, and keep curtains open during the day.  Move furniture so that you sit near a window or a skylight.  You can also try taking Vitamin D, but consult your physician first!

Why the HECK am I talking about SAD, you may ask? Because: exercise such as CrossFit can help you deal with the Winter Blues!  Exercise relieves stress, builds energy and increases your mental and physical well-being.  In addition to exercising in some fashion daily, make a habit of taking a daily walk.  The activity and increased exposure to natural light can raise your spirits.

A winter vacation in a sunny destination can also temporarily relieve SAD symptoms, although symptoms usually recur after return home.  (Just ask Coach Dee, who is hating being home in the cold after her lovely trip to Mexico! 😛 )  At home, work at resisting the carbohydrate and sleep cravings that come with SAD.

Long story short, increasing your exposure to light, monitoring your diet, sleep patterns and exercise levels are important first steps in overcoming your Winter Blues.

So get your butt into the gym!

Today’s Workout

Buy-in: Full warm-up prior to class – get your hips and shoulders warm!

WOD – Five Fingers

this is a 3 part wod:

Part 1.  Deadlift 5×5, building up to a heavy 5 reps (touch and go, no drops!) – NOT a 5RM (keep perfect spine position)

Part 2.  Push press 5×5, building up to a heavy 5 – NOT a 5RM (keep perfect technique)

Part 3.  5min Amrap of 5 knees to elbows, 10 burpees, 15 double unders

Add all three scores together for your total

Zone 2 – scale to single skips – 45 per round, double crunch sub for kte

Zone 1 – scale as needed

Cash Out Follow the leader stretches


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