Cabin fever isn’t a medical condition. It’s the term used to describe that restless, uneasy feeling some people get after being cooped up indoors all winter long. Many people find it difficult to stay physically active in cold weather, but sedentary living can take a toll on your mood, mental health, and physical health. Staying active is essential for good health, and it’s your cure for cabin fever.
The negative effects of physical inactivity
Cold temperatures, inclement weather, and shorter days make staying active during winter a challenge. You may start feeling irritable, lethargic, unhappy, or a little on edge after a few days without being physically active. Don’t dismiss these feelings as “just cabin fever”. A lack of exercise and activity is bad for your health.
Negative effects of physical inactivity include unhealthy weight gain, loss of strength and endurance, weaker bones, hormonal imbalances, and poor blood circulation.
Physical inactivity can increase your risk for metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, stroke, hypertension, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Being inactive can also lead to feelings of depression or anxiety, or otherwise affect your mood.
Staying active in cold weather
Exercise improves your physical health, your mood, and your mental health. It’s important at every age, and in every season. Of course, it’s much easier to get up and stay active in nice weather than when it’s freezing cold.
Here are a few tips to help you stay active in cold weather.
Join a gym, or exercise at home.
An indoor rock climbing gym is a fun and exciting way to help you satisfy that urge to be adventurous and active without suffering cold weather.
Do something fun and active with the whole family. Go roller skating, visit an indoor amusement center, or go to an indoor sports complex.
Layer up and brave the elements.
Proper layering can help you stay warm during outdoor activities.
Choose the right activities. It’s more difficult to stay warm doing activities where you stand still. Even biking in the winter can be a challenge because of your exposure to wind and cold air. Choose activities such as walking, hiking, and jogging to keep warm.
Get out and do some yard work
Remember to stay hydrated when exercising in cold weather. You know that you need to drink water in the summer when you’re parched and sweating, but you don’t necessarily have these cues in cold weather. Drink plenty of water even if you’re not thirsty.
Low Vitamin D
Vitamin D levels also tend to trend down in the winter due to lack of sun exposure. Low Vitamin D can also cause mood changes, fatigue, and lack of motivation to exercise. If you are concerned about your Vitamin D levels, ask your doctor about Vitamin D testing provided at MANA Laboratory. You can take a Vitamin D supplement in the winter to help raise your levels of Vitamin D.
Talk to your doctor
Your primary care doctor is your most valuable resource and main point of contact for any of your healthcare needs. Contact your doctor if you have feelings of depression, you want to know what type of physical activity is right for you, or any concerns you have about your health.
You doctor can provide you with the information you’re looking for, and refer you to a specialist, such as a psychiatrist, if need be.