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Mental health

Skip the end-of-year ‘burnout’ by getting active this winter

Prime your energy levels with physical activity

women under the snow

It’s likely safe to say that this year has not exactly been an easy one to navigate for a lot of us – and with 2020 winding down, there are thousands of Canadians out there feeling that end-of-year burnout.

Stress caused from work, the pending holidays and everyday life can make the last few weeks of the year hard to manage, especially when it comes to mental health, as many Canadian adults feel more anxious, tired and depressed during what is supposed to be a festive season.

However, one of the best remedies for those end-of-year blues (and a great way to naturally boost your energy) is get your body moving and heart pumping – even in small bouts. You’ve heard it from us before, but it’s true: you can boost your mood, improve your energy levels and feel less stressed out just by getting active.

What does the science tell us?

family enjoyingIt might seem backwards that expending energy through physical activity actually gives your body more energy, but the research backs it up.

A recent study found that people who regularly engage in physical activity (adults need 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity each week), on average, reported higher levels of energy than those who don’t. Even happier news? Getting your heart pumping and blood flowing promotes the release of feel-good chemicals (like endorphins) within the brain, boosting your energy and allowing you to feel upbeat. An added bonus: physical activity also helps reduce the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) circulating in the body.

If you’re looking to Energy Better and beat the end-of-year burnout we talked about above, get active and make physical activity a key part of your festive routine. Snowball fight, anyone? Making physical activity a part of your holiday routine is a lot easier and fun than you think.

And if getting pelted with balls of snow isn’t your thing, there are a ton of other fun ways to make sure you are getting active and maintaining the energy you require to take on what can be a very stressful time of year:

Take care of your body …

You don’t need fancy athletic equipment or an expensive online yoga class to get active. Throw a dance party while at home or build a snowperson in the yard with the fam, every single active minute counts and will help you get the added kick of energy we could all use during this stressful time of year.

And your mind

While most Canadians are aware of what physical activity can do for their body, the impact it can have on our mental health is sometimes forgotten. As previously mentioned, when you get moving, your brain releases feel-good chemicals (such as dopamine and serotonin), leaving you feeling positive as well as revitalized. Try some activities such as Tai chiyoga or Pilates as perfect ways to get moving while also focusing on breathing and stretching.

Re-connect with Mother Nature

Sure, you’re going to need the proper attire, but come on, we are a winter-loving nation after all, aren’t we? Embrace your inner Canuck and charge those batteries for a busy holiday season by hiking, going for bike ride (snow tires on, of course) or even slap on the skis and go cross-country skiing. Whatever activity you choose, it will help you keep those energy levels optimized.

This winter, it’s perhaps more important than ever to do what we can to not only be active, but to embrace the outdoors and engage with nature. Aside from helping us keep moving during a somewhat stressful time of year, it will also help keep energy levels primed and stress down, helping both your physical and mental health.

The True North Challenge is coming to the ParticipACTION app!

For your shot at awesome prizes, grab your friends, family, and coworkers and download the ParticipACTION app in the App Store or Google Play now and keep your eyes peeled for the True North Challenge launch in January!

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