Monday, January 12, 2015

Midwinter Blues and Exercise

This is my idea of dealing with winter.

Here we are in the middle of winter. It's that place where the light at the end of the tunnel isn't quite visible yet and all the really fun holidays are behind us. Working on either of my WIPs seems to take an act of sheer will like deciding to go out and plow a field with a spoon. Well, what'd you do to keep the blahs from taking over?

I read an article that said exercise improves your mental outlook and your physical health. My sister swears that it keeps her depression at bay. She goes to the gym like it was church and takes long walks as if it was fun. I hate her. I'm more the slug type. I like to conserve my energy. I think naps are beneficial.

In my younger days I would walk every where and thought exercise was just part of the daily routine. I don't think I really knew how age could change things. It all seemed so easy then. I remember practicing the bagpipes and losing 2-3 pounds from the effort. Those were the days, my friend.

I could probably hibernate for the entire winter laying around watching TV or reading, but my doctor seems to think exercise might help me get some wight off and give me some more strength. What do doctors know?

Well, I've been giving this whole exercise thing some thought. Along with the physical benefits, I want to see if exercise will help me through this infernal winter and improve my spirits.

Have any of you tried to use exercise to chase away the winter blues? What do you do to get your happy back? I expect a full report.


Renaissance Women said...

Since I live in an area that has wondeful sunny and fairly warm days, I do get out and walk. On the days when it just isn't safe, yoga. The rest of the time, sleep, sleep, read, read, and sleep, then write, write, write, write. Doris

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I like your routine, Doris. Lordy, you must live in Costa Rica or some other paradise to have warm, sunny weather right now. Lucky you.
I have to make myself write now. When I say I feel lazy, I mean really lazy.
Thank you for your comment.

JD McCall said...

When it's this cold out, I hate to even go outside long enough to travel to the gym and the older I get the more I dislike getting out. I probably get more good out of petting and playing with our dogs. It's great therapy when you are feeling down. Their little faces show so much appreciation.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

JD, you're absolutely right about pet therapy. I love how Lily (my Golden Retriever) and Liberty (my cat) always greet me at the door like I was their whole world. Funny, winter weather doesn't seem to give them the blahs.
You seem to have the same attitude I do about going out in crappy weather. Honestly, if I had to leave home to go to a gym to exercise, it would never get done.
Thanks for coming by, JD.

Beverly Wells said...

Sarah, I definitely believe exercise clears the mind and lightens your heart. I've always had to fight the weight problem(I love to eat and esp. chocolate) so I try to stay active, esp. as I get older. Though I live in NYS where we have cold, Jamie, my black lab, and I walk 2-3 miles every morning and evening. Come rain, snow whatever, we go. When it's below 20 and depending on the wind, I may only walk him 1 mile so his paws don't get frost bite. This morning--10 degrees with moderate wind, we went maybe 1 to 1 1/2 miles. Invigorating--I bundle up well. Hubby even goes off and on--depending on how cold it is. We've also joined the hospital's community center where we work out--I mostly do the stationary bike and treadmill for an hour 3 times a wk. We've done this for the past year as our insurance pays for it for health prevention. It takes a hunk out of our day MWF but it's great and I know the older we get, the more we need to do it. So bundle up and try it(whether it's outside walking or in a gym)--you will love it too. And the people you meet along the way are terrific. It's also great for Jamie who is now 12.

Paula Martin said...

I can't walk far (or do any real exercise) because of being disabled with arthritis, so any exercise tends to exhaust me - and definitely doesn't do anything for my mental outlook! A pub lunch and good conversation (and laughs) with a group of friends is far more beneficial, in my opinion! (And I agree with you about winter, too!)

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Hey Bev! I commend you for your efforts on the part of your health. I can tell you for a fact that metabolism slows as we age.
Before I retired from nursing, The hospital had a gym program for free and they also had a Weight Watchers program at the nurses' dorm for a nicely discounted price for staff.
I'm a southern woman, so winter weather even in my neck of the woods is not for me. But, I do workout 20 minutes a day on my cardio-glide and, alternately, weight resistance training. Can't say I love doing it, and I can't really tell if it takes away the blahs, but it does lift my self-esteem that I actually met the goal.
Still, I have to make myself get in here and go to work on my WIPs or go outside and do yard work when these grey skies and low temps go on during winter. Ick! Maybe in the state of New York, y'all have managed to inherit "winter genes" or something.
You may not remember the TV show Northern Exposures, but in Alaska where the sun only lasts 4 hours a day in winter, they had these "light hats" they wore to give them some inner pep. One of the characters became addicted to his light hat. LOL I do remember working in the ER where there are no windows, standing in front of the X-Ray viewer's bright light, wearing sunglasses and pretending it was sunlight. It actually did help lift the ol' spirits. Weird, huh?
Thank you for commenting. You have some great suggestions. I bet your dog loves your exercise program.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Paula, I imagine England is pretty dang cold and wet this time of year...not good for arthritis, for certain. As an American, I find the community around pubs in the UK and Ireland really fascinating. It makes me think every block or two there must be a pub where neighbors gather. You should write a blog about socializing in pubs. I think it's different here in the US. People mostly go to bars to drink and watch sports on big TV's or go to fast food--but not necessarily to interact with the other patrons. Pubs sound like more fun.
It's always good to hear from you, Paula. Thank you so much for coming.

Renaissance Women said...

Sarah, I live in the high desert in Colorado, ie. Colorado Springs. Doris

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Doris, I had no idea Colorado Springs was a high desert. I'm not even sure I know what that means. I'm picturing a mountain that looks like a sand dune. That can't be right.

Lyn Horner said...

I live in Fort worth, Texas. Hot weather country, right? Ha! Not in January. The wind cuts like a knife. All I want to do in hibernate and cuddle with my cats. Being disabled, exercise is not really my thing, although it would help lower my blood sugar. Ho hum, it's h**l getting old!

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Lyn, I saw on the Weather Channel that Texas is deep into winter type weather and I was astounded. When I lived in central Texas way back in the day, I remember the mild winter I spent there. I never wore a coat. I guess that scenario is out the window now.
Although my sister seems to love exercising and taking long walks, it take sheer will for me to do it. I am trying to establish a routine right now because my doctor insists I should. My idea of exercise is lifting a book or the remote to the TV. I'm attempting to change my ways.
Thank you for coming by and sharing your thoughts, Lyn.