If you are like me, you are already feeling the effects of the seasonal change. The inevitable loss of daylight becomes evident as my early morning runs are now starting in the dark and late day bike rides are now done inside on a trainer because of the shortened daylight hours.
The landscaping is also changing as the once crisp verdant vegetation of summer smolders as it readies to burst into fall color.
Being a New Englander I embrace the changing of the seasons, but it does have a profound effect on my mood and motivation. My summers are spent with purpose and getting every bit of summer in that I can absorb. My plate is filled with training and racing. Now that the season is over I am left with a feeling of loss of purpose and excitement.
I am not alone on the profound effect the changing of the seasons have. We love our summers. It is a time for beaches, barbecues, music in the meadows and all the other activities that make summer special. Yet there is an adjustment to be made to the lack of light and the lack of motivation to carry on with the same vigor and excitement as we march toward stick season.
These changing of the seasons have a more significant effect on some people than others, enough so that the medical world has labeled it as SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Some of the telltale signs are as listed:
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Low energy
- Having problems sleeping
- Increase or decrease in apatite
- Oversleeping or not getting the sleep you need
Some of the reasons for Seasonal Affective Disorder are:
- A Disruption of Circadian Rhythms – This is your body’s biological clock. Can be thrown out of whack due to the loss of light.
- Serotonin level – A brain neurotransmitter that can be affected by the loss of light and can cause depression.
- Melatonin – The loss of light can also reduce the production of melatonin and disrupt sleep patterns.
The above symptoms and causes are well documented and can be disruptive to a person’s health and well being.
So how do you keep your motivation during the seasonal change and the upcoming hectic holiday season? I use one mantra that seems to work effectively for me. I keep the “Why Close By”.
Why do I exercise?
- It makes me feel great.
- I keep connected to all my fitness buddies. The social aspect of exercise keeps us connected and a feeling of belonging is noted as very important for a person’s well being. We are social animals.
- I want to keep the quality of my life as long as possible
- I want to reduce my chances of SAD by elevating my endorphins. Yes, exercise increases endorphins which in turn make a person feel good about themselves. Much cheaper than medication or other stimulants that have many side effects.
- I have empowered myself to make time for myself. In this demanding world, it is hard to take that precious time for yourself and be able to improve and maintain sanity and well being. The rewards are genuinely uplifting for the self-esteem.
- I want to ensure my bones are as healthy as possible.
- I want to keep or increase muscle mass.
- I want to improve my cardiovascular health.
The above should be a great reminder and incentive to continue your fitness journey.
I know that when I keep the “Why Close By” I can stay the course no matter the season.
If you’re interested in maintaining your mental and physical health, check out the classes I offer and keep YOUR why close by.