It’s that time of year again: the weather has turned; the clocks have gone back. It’s dark and cold outside, and even if you don’t officially suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder, this time of year can easily make us feel a bit down in the dumps and rubbish can’t it. When we’re feeling cold and tired, working out can be the last thing on our minds, but actually a workout might be just what we need to wake us up and make us feel a little more human.

Here are 5 ways to embrace the winter workout and boost your mood.

Running outdoors


Ok, we know that right now you’re probably shuddering at the thought of school cross country lessons, being forced to run around in sub-zero conditions. That was fairly ghastly, and nobody is suggesting you repeat that. But you could put on your running gear, add an extra layer for warmth and maybe some gloves, and go for a quick run. You might just find that while the summer heat was stifling to run in, the winter chill is refreshing and invigorating.

Join a new class

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If you really can’t face the thought of braving the cold for a run, head to your local gym or leisure centre to see if there are any classes that take your fancy. Attending a regular weekly class can be more than just an hour of exercise on a Tuesday evening; these classes often have a lovely sense of community where you can make friends for life. You might also find that you can improve on your existing fitness or strength levels by taking up something new.

Take up yoga


Yoga can be a wonderfully restorative practice for the mind as much as the body. Attending a regular yoga class can help you to lengthen and strengthen your muscles. This can help to stretch out all of those niggling little injuries you’ve picked up over the summer, as well as helping to prevent injuries from anything else you’re doing over the winter. Concentrating on postures can help your brain to let go of that thing it’s been obsessing over all day, and bring a real mental relief so that you leave a class feeling like you’ve been stretched out but also as if your brain has had a good rest.

Go for a ride


If running outdoors is really not your thing, could cycling be your thing? Getting on your bike is not only a great form of exercise; it’s also a brilliant way to be sociable with a friend and get out into the countryside. Check out some local cycle ways and enlist a friend or two to come along for the ride. You might just find you’re so busy putting the world to rights you don’t notice how far you’ve cycled.

Invest in a kettlebell


Kettlebells are great because they’re incredibly versatile, and can be used anywhere – no matter how small your space. If you find that you’re lacking the motivation to get to the gym or to a regular group exercise, having a kettlebell sitting in the corner of the living room can be great for a quick workout whenever the mood takes you.

Physical exercise is just as important in the winter months as in the summer. It can keep us fit and healthy, but also helps to lift our moods on those days when the skies are grey.