October greetings everyone! As the weather changes and we move more of our activities indoors, I’ve noticed that some of our patients report struggling with maintaining their healthy exercise routines and activity levels. It is more difficult to find enough daylight or warmth to take advantage of outdoor activities such walking, biking, and other summer-time activities as the cooler seasons arrive. This is the challenging part of living in the Midwest – seasons change and we have to change along with them.
As mental-health providers, we often recommend some type of appropriate exercise routine for patients struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental-health challenges. Livestrong.com has multiple articles discussing the emotional benefits of exercise for individuals with or without mental-health issues. Our mood, self esteem, and our ability to handle daily stressors can be positively influenced, at least in part, by exercise.
With the change in seasons, we may need to take the time to discover new ways to keep the physical and emotional benefits of exercise going. Providers and staff members at the Alegent-Creighton Clinic where I practice were asked this question: “How do you stay active during the fall and winter months?” Here are some of their responses:
- Classes for Zumba, yoga, Pilates, and belly dancing.
- Swimming at Lakeside Fitness Center.
- Exercise DVDs – including Zumba, walking, aerobics, and pilates.
- Using home gym equipment such as treadmill or elliptical machines.
- Joining a basketball or volleyball team.
- Indoor tennis
- Wii Fitness
There’s probably a lot more to add to this list. I invite you to start thinking about how you want to stay active this fall and winter. If you’d like, let me know what you’re doing this season to stay active. Your post about your activity may inspire or help someone else to get started or stay motivated.
Karen Williams, LIMHP is a Mental Health provider at CHI Health.