Updated: Mar 22
Daylight savings time is finally here. On this day, most U.S. residents will move their clocks forward one hour, resulting in more daylight at the end of each day.
Many people dread this “spring forward” tradition, because it means getting one less hour of sleep. But you can take advantage of the upcoming time change to help you improve your overall fitness and health routine.
The effect of daylight
The sunlight has a profound impact on our bodies, particularly two hormones that control mood and energy: serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin tends to boost mood and energy, while melatonin tends to make you feel sleepy. Too much of it can even lead to depressed feelings in some people.
Winter depression is a common disorder that many people suffer with during the long, dark winter months, and it is often directly tied to the effect of less daylight, less serotonin and too much melatonin.
Likewise, when sunlight is plentiful (such as during the late spring and summer months), you will produce more serotonin and less melatonin. The result can be a dramatic shift in your overall feelings of well-being and energy; you will likely find that you have more energy and motivation when the days begin to lengthen.
Put the longer days to work for you
Have you struggled to work out this winter? Has your motivation been weak? Less daylight may be the reason. If you didn’t head into fall and winter last year with a solidly entrenched fitness habit, you may have lost motivation to keep moving.
Long-term fitness is the result of having a fitness routine and sticking with it. Once a habit becomes part of your life, it is easy to keep it up, even if your motivation and energy drop from time to time, as they surely will.
This is the perfect time to begin building healthy exercise habits.
As we get closer to spring and summer, the days will get longer and longer, which will give you more time and opportunity to get out and about. The increased serotonin in your body will boost your mood and energy.
This is one reason many people feel exciting when the weather begins warm-up.
All of the sudden, like magic we have the motivation to out and get moving.
How to get started?
If you haven’t been exercising start with 20 to 30 minutes of exercise. Get serious about your routine. Make it a priority. Before you know it may become an entrenched part of your lifestyle. And by the summer you’ll be beach body ready. “Get at it.”
See you outside.