Autumn is not very kind to us. Short days, lower temperatures, rapidly falling dusk, gloomy weather, and the fact that summer left us only with memories – these are some of the causes of seasonal melancholy which over time can lead to permanent depression. Sometimes we notice the first symptoms of low spirit too late, and yet we can prepare our body for the autumn and winter challenges quite well. Experts encourage us to move because even several minutes of regular physical activity a day can improve our wellbeing, reduce fatigue, and significantly lower the stress level. And this is just the beginning of the benefits of exercise.
After the holidays, with the change of seasons, many of us feel the impact of the autumn solstice. It is a state in which we feel the effects of changing weather extremely strongly. We experience depression, apathy, mood swings, unjustified anxiety, irritability, problems with concentration or lack of energy. According to the survey conducted by CBOS, autumn is the least liked season of the year by Poles. Only 4% of them are looking forward to its beginning. This is probably related to the change in the level of insolation, and thus a reduced level of vitamin D3 which has a beneficial effect on our body. – We leave for work early in the morning, return in the late afternoon, and due to the decreasing temperature outside, we are more likely to stay at home. Spending most of the time in a closed room means that the access to natural light is limited, which in turn reduces the production of the “happiness hormone” – serotonin – which is responsible for our wellbeing. Therefore, in the autumn and winter season it is worth looking for other ways to improve our mood to compensate for rainy weather and the lack of sunlight. Residents of Scandinavian countries compensate for short days and low temperatures with increased physical activity. It is worth following their example because according to many studies sport is one of the most effective methods of reducing stress and improving our mood – explains Natalia Litwiniuk, Zdrofit and Yes2Move.com trainer specialising in Body&Mind workouts.
Enjoy a good mood and reduce stress
In one of the latest studies 47% of Europeans admitted that their overall mental health had deteriorated during the pandemic and 51% reported that their levels of stress and anxiety had increased. Dedicated training programmes are created for people who struggle with such emotions. They are offered, among others, by Zdrofit fitness clubs where the Antistress programme in the Energy and Harmony version is organised. The first one uses the basic elements of fitness training, dynamic exercises with elements of mobilisation and stretching. This is cardio oxygen training. The second one focuses on general development exercises with the use of pilates, yoga, healthy spine, mobility, stretching, breathing exercises and equipment. They are based on concentration and precision of movement.
– The antistress classes prove that sport does not have to be a power play or an unpleasant duty but a way to spend time pleasantly and relax, which will result in stress reduction, more efficient sleep, or a better mood. What’s more, for people who struggle not only with deteriorated wellbeing but also with increased tension as a result of prolonged stress, experts from the Get ready! campaign have developed a special guide on physical activity that can be downloaded for free at www.przygotujsie.pl – says the trainer.
Choose your discipline and exercise to be healthy
The benefits of exercise are countless. Physical activity strengthens the efficiency of our body. It also improves memory and concentration, making us absorb information faster, which may translate into better results at work or study. – People who practice sports on a regular basis are much more likely to focus on the task they must perform. Thanks to less stress, they are also calmer. They control their emotions, assess various situations realistically and can react in time to propose a solution – explains Natalia Litwiniuk. In the survey conducted as part of the Get ready! campaign 77% of fitness club users indicated that physical activity supports their mental abilities and over 90% believe that exercise helps them to reduce stress and mental overload.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been calling to increase the level of physical activity in societies for years. Despite these recommendations, people’s awareness of the health benefits of sport is still low and too many of us lead a sedentary lifestyle. – To change this, we need to find activities that match our abilities and expectations. Then sport will become a source of satisfaction and joy for us. Where to start? I encourage everyone to start with home training, for example with the Yes2Move.com platform, where among hundreds of suggestions and inspiring tips everyone will surely find workouts that will meet their needs. For those who prefer to be motivated by another person, classes in a sports facility under the watchful eye of a trainer will be the best – emphasises Natalia Litwiniuk.
According to the Polish Economic Institute report, only one in four inhabitants of Poland systematically engage in sports. For comparison, in other countries of Northern and Western Europe the percentage of physically active citizens reaches 40%, which is 12% more than in Poland.
 Ipsos, Impact Of The Covid 19 Pandemic On Health, march 2021