Archive for play healthy

Don’t Get SAD, Get Moving!

Winter can be challenging for anyone trying to be active. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves through New Year’s Resolutions even though the weather could make it the hardest time of year to start being active. Add to that a shorter amount of daylight hours, cloudy days (and poor air quality in some areas), and having to be indoors due to the cold and you have created the perfect conditions for being SAD.

SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is often called the Winter Blues, a type of depression that occurs based on changes in the seasons.

Beat the Winter Blues

There are many ways to beat the winter blues, but one of the best approaches is to get more exposure to sunlight. You can do this with special lights that mimic the full spectrum lighting similar to what you would get from the sun, or just get outside when possible. Regular physical activity has been shown to decrease depressive symptoms, especially in children and older adults.

Current physical activity recommendations for adults are to accumulate 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week. Here are some tips to beat the blahs this winter:

    • Soak up the sunshine in the early morning to feel better throughout the day. If you can do that outside, great. If not, find an indoor location where you can enjoy a sunbeam for a bit
    • Be active every day. If you are in decent shape, don’t be afraid to go for higher intensity activity for the greatest reward. Physical activity is best when it is a habit, and habits come from regular participation
    • Explore your community. Getting in a rut makes your day frustrating even when you aren’t feeling down. Find your nearest park and see what is happening while everyone else is huddling under blankets at home
  • Can’t find sunshine? Book a trip to a place where you can find plenty!

Be active, be healthy,

Dr. Brett McIff, Physical Activity Coordinator at the Utah Department of Health

Dr. Brett McIff - LuckyDog RecreationDr. Brett McIff has worked in physical activity promotion for over 20 years in a variety of fields from personal training to policy development.  He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Utah in Exercise and Sports Science. He continued his graduate work with a Master of Science in Public Health and a Ph.D. in Public Health at Walden University.  Brett has served as President of the National Physical Activity Society and as President of the Utah Chapter of the Society of Public Health Educators and served on expert panels with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Academy of Science.  He works with committees at the national, state, and local levels to promote environments that encourage regular physical activity. He is currently the Physical Activity Coordinator at the Utah Department of Health.  

Resources:

SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml

How To Be Active When The Air Hurts

New Year’s Resolution to be healthier? 
New running shoes?
Air polluted so badly that you end up coughing and feeling lousy all day? 

The winter air in many places is less than ideal due to an increase in pollutants from increased driving and heating of homes.

If you live in a place that has inversions, a condition where a dense layer of cold air is trapped beneath warm air like a lid, that air pollution can concentrate and make breathing difficult.  Those fine particles that make up the majority of air pollution can get past the usual defensive mechanisms in the body, irritating the full length of the respiratory tract. If you have breathing difficulties from conditions such as asthma or from smoking, you can really get hit hard.

Here are some things to make your exercise easier on your lungs during bad air days:

  • Be active when cars aren’t.
  • Avoid walking or running during rush hour times when pollution is highest.
  • You aren’t a car, so find a trail or other path in a park that is away from cars in order to lower your exposure.  Car exhaust is extremely irritating, stay away from places where it concentrates such as intersections.
  • If you can, be active indoors.
  • Check the air quality index each day and if it is a poor air day, stay inside.
  • However, indoor air can also be full of irritants as well, so avoid exercise after vacuuming or dusting to minimize impact.

Be active, be healthy,

Dr. Brett McIff, Physical Activity Coordinator at the Utah Department of Health

 

Dr. Brett McIff - LuckyDog RecreationDr. Brett McIff has worked in physical activity promotion for over 20 years in a variety of fields from personal training to policy development.  He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Utah in Exercise and Sports Science. He continued his graduate work with a Master of Science in Public Health and a Ph.D. in Public Health at Walden University.  Brett has served as President of the National Physical Activity Society and as President of the Utah Chapter of the Society of Public Health Educators and served on expert panels with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Academy of Science.  He works with committees at the national, state, and local levels to promote environments that encourage regular physical activity. He is currently the Physical Activity Coordinator at the Utah Department of Health.  

Resources:

What is an inversion?
http://www.ci.slc.ut.us/winter-inversions-what-are-they-and-what-we-can-all-do-help

What causes poor air quality?
http://www.slcdocs.com/mayor/Air.Quality.Infographic.pdf

Exercise and air quality
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4666455/

Utah air pollution and public health
http://health.utah.gov/utahair/

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