It's March! That means Daylight Saving Time!
When I went through the intensive program for chronic pain as a patient at the Shealy Insitute for Pain and Depression Rehabilitation back in late 1989 (I know.), the exercise program they offered was inside the facility in the same room we did lectures and biofeedback sessions in. We did some mild stretching with minimal sunlight coming through one corner window. Sleepy time. ZZZzzz
I knew the personal benefits of getting outside to exercise. Being in the sunlight, or just the fresh air (when I’d go out before sunrise), did so much for me, my pain levels, my mindset and overall mood. Saying “Yes!” to movement, even when I didn’t feel like it, kept me on the road to wholeness again.
When I was invited to come on board as Exercise Therapist a year later, one of the first things I asked permission for from Drs. Shealy and Cady, was to take the patients outside to walk on the grounds of the facility. Working with doctors that not only understood, but did research on the effects of serotonin and melatonin on chronic pain patients, it was an easy, “absolutely.” Not to mention the the fact that they were both physically active themselves. That was helpful.
That permission eventually led to being able to walk away from the facility grounds so that I and the patients could see how they progressed physically…and emotionally.
The doctors were so pleased. The patients were very please. I was so very pleased.
In our Monday client review meetings, it was unanimous...Getting the patients out into the fresh air and sunlight had a direct positive impact on their emotional and physical response to exercise therapy and overall treatment.
Read on to see how getting out in the daylight can help you too.
In addition to Spring being just around the corner, in the U.S. we also get to move our clocks forward one hour in observance of Daylight Saving Time. This means we get more daylight at the end of each day. Just what you ordered, right?
So many people dread this “spring forward” tradition, because it means getting one less hour of sleep. But in reality we all know that….it’s all the same number of hours. It’s simply a “shift” in day “light” hours and a shift in mindset. But you can take advantage of the time change to help you improve your overall fitness and health routine.
The effect of daylight
Sunlight has a profound impact on our bodies. We have two particular hormones that control mood and energy: serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin tends to boost mood and energy, while melatonin tends to make you feel sleepy. Too much melatonin can even lead to depressed feelings in some people. This winter depression is a common disorder that many people suffer with during the long, dark winter months, and it’s often directly tied to the effect of less daylight, less serotonin and too much melatonin.
During the late spring and summer months, when sunlight is more plentiful, you will produce more serotonin and less melatonin. During fall and winter, when less sunlight is available, you will produce less serotonin and more melatonin. The result can be a dramatic shift in your overall feelings of well-being and energy. In fact, you will likely find that you have more energy and motivation when the days begin to lengthen. So…
Put the longer days to work for you
Let me ask you a question: Have you struggled to work out regularly this winter? Has your motivation been weak? (Okay, that was two questions.) Less daylight may be the reason. If you didn’t head into fall and winter last year with a solid fitness habit, you may have lost motivation and spent the winter merely wishing that you were working out. (Another reason why a New Year’s Resolution to begin a fitness routine doesn’t work well.)
Long-term fitness, i.e. a fitness lifestyle, is the result of having a fitness habit and sticking with it. Once a habit becomes part of your life, it's easy to keep it up, even if your motivation and energy drop from time to time, as they surely will. This is particularly true in fall and winter.
This is the perfect time to begin building healthy exercise habits.
How? Take advantage of the longer days and increased sunlight. As we get closer to spring and summer, the daylight hours will get longer and longer, which will give you more time and opportunity to work out. The increased serotonin in your body will boost your mood and energy, giving you the motivation to create a routine of exercise. Get serious about this routine, so that by the time fall rolls around in a few months (yes, it happens quickly), you will be firmly entrenched in your healthy lifestyle. This is a plan that works!
Maybe you’ve felt shut in for a few months, but now is the time to break out! Take advantage of the long daylight hours and fit fitness in. Get in the habit of fitness now and carry it into the summer and fall.
With the extra daylight hours in the evening, get out for a walk! Taking a walk after dinner is an ideal way to settle down in the evening. Whether alone, and you finally get some quiet time, or with a spouse or friend, and you finally have time for some laughter. You can still have your regular routine, if you have one, just add this in. And if you don't have a regular routine, well, this is a great one to start! Make it a habit.
A solid fitness habit NOW will carry you through the dark days of next winter when energy and motivation lag, and you will finish that winter strong! Translation: You won't be in this same spot next year.
Deni, don't let "I'm not sure what to do," get in the way of getting started. Break through that excuse now! You can get a complimentary Breakthrough Strategy session, just for the asking. Click HERE for instructions and to complete the prep form. I'll contact you to schedule after reviewing.
And March is not to late to grab my Healthy New Year gift ebook: New Year, New You, if you haven't already done so. It's full of really cool quotes, short content, and action steps for you to apply right away. Yep...a great resource and another way to get started now!
And if you've already gotten your copy, just hit "Reply" and let me know...how's it working for you?
Remember...Action steps are the beginning of new habits. New habits are the beginning of change. Change is the only thing that will get you from where you are now, to where you want to be.
Nutrition coaching is here! I'll be starting another group of peeps through beginning April 3, so registration and prep work begins the week of March 27th. This isn't a group program, but I like to work this way so I have a number of people on the same lesson at the same time. If you'd like to be on the early notification list, just REPLY to this email and put "I'm Ready!" in the subject line. You'll get early notification which means first-come-first-served gets you in fast. Remember, spots are limited each time I open this up, so if you don't want to wait...
If you want more information, check out the first video HERE. If you've seen that one, and you want more in-depth information, feel free to request a 10-min chat for clarification and to see if this program is right for you. I'll be releasing a second video during registration. Until then...