Do you feel like you have less energy and need more sleep than usual? Find yourself drinking more coffee, maybe even eating more comfort food?
Welcome to the club. Most of us experience some sort of change in our moods and behaviour when the seasons change – but why?
Interestingly enough, shifts in the amount of available light over the seasons can have a massive effect on your body chemistry. Winter often disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm – that’s a fancy way of saying our natural cycle – because the decrease in exposure to sunlight tells your body to get ready for sleep.
Now this all changes when summer comes around and your body begins to get loads of exposure to light, which makes you feel awake, alert and more active. But just like winter has the tendency to make you feel a bit blue (Seasonal Affective Disorder, anyone?), summer may increase anxiety, irritability, hyperactivity and may even cause insomnia. And yes, there’s a term for this too: Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Both disorders can derail your fitness goals, so we’ve put together a few tips to tackle the changes of the seasons.
Your all-seasons fitness guide:
Spring: Time to rethink your goals for the next 3 months. Write them down. This is a great time to start something new so grab a few sessions with a Personal Trainer to kickstart the new season – visit shop on myvirginactive.co.za – try a new group class like POUND® or enter an event that you can train for. If you need a break from the gym, spring clean the house. Cleaning is a great workout. Next, hit the kitchen and stock up on fresh, healthy foods. Remember: You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.
Summer: The sun’s shining so take advantage. Swim, run on the beach, hike or try some trail running. It’s time to be outdoors, soaking up some sun (don’t forget your sunblock), but that doesn’t mean you should skip the gym. Set your alarm for an hour earlier and start your day with a smile thanks to a great workout.
Autumn: So summer was fun, but now things have started to cool down and you’re tempted to slow down. Supplement your intense, sweat-filled sessions with some Pilates and Yoga – all bookable with the brand new Virgin Active app. Tip: If you’re slowing down on the exercise front, your eating habits may need some adjusting too.
Winter: Time to keep warm! And what better way than doing some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)? Try a Twentyfour class, take on The Grid or get super sweaty in HEAT (at selected clubs only). Guys, remember to add some cardio to your routine, and girls, don’t be shy to hit the weights. After all, summer bodies are made in winter.