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Baby, it’s COLD outside! At least here in the northeast! It’s cold, it’s dark, and it’s difficult to stay motivated about being healthy and fit when all we really want to do is stay inside and keep warm… hibernate!

This weather makes us want to eat more and move less, which makes us feel worse! Hunkering down actually makes us less social, more negative, less healthy, and more depressed. Exercise – especially in these winter months - can help us to feel better all the way around. Here are the benefits to winter activity...

The days are short, but you need sun! Get it when you can. Bundle up, go outside, get moving, burn calories, and smile while you do it! You will warm up in no time at all! You are out of that stale, dry, germy, inside air, and it feels good (and is good for you… unless it’s too cold). The sun provides your body with vitamin D (on bare skin), makes you feel happier, and helps you to sleep more soundly!

Feeling blue? A daily workout releases feel-good brain chemicals (serotonin and dopamine), which can help to reduce anxiety and depression while increasing your wellbeing.

Exercise makes you stronger, more energetic, keeps your weight in check, and boosts your immunity! We could all use a dose of that during cold and flu season. Exercise causes changes in antibodies and white blood cells, the body's immune system cells that fight disease. These antibodies circulate more rapidly, so they can detect illnesses earlier than they might have otherwise. Exercise also slows down the release of stress hormones which may protect against illness. Physical activity may even help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This can reduce your chances of getting a cold, flu, or other illness. P.S. – you need to exercise regularly to keep that immunity up!

Exercise is good for you, but don’t overdo it. Studies have shown that people who follow a moderately energetic lifestyle on most days benefit the most. If you are already a heavy exerciser, don’t think that working out more will boost your immunity. In fact, it can do the opposite. Moderation and consistency is key!