The Facts Behind Winter Weight Gain
Winter is often cold and blah – and all that cold and blah can go right to your hips! Most folks gain an average of 2 to 4 lbs. over the winter, according to UK’s Daily Mail, with a number of factors contributing to the season’s extra pounds. Ace Fitness and the Daily Mail serve up five main reasons many of us are plagued with winter weight gain.
We Tend to Stay Indoors
The summer sunshine, beaches and park romps naturally lure us into outdoor activities. Winter’s cold, bleak days drive us to the couch. Not only are we spending more time indoors, but we’re often spending more sedentary time indoors engaged in activities linked to eating.
We Get Less Vitamin D
All that indoor dwelling reduces our exposure to the sun, as do winter’s shorter days and less intense sunshine. That lack of sunshine results in a decreased ability to synthesize Vitamin D, and we’re left with depleted levels in our bodies. Folks with low levels of Vitamin D have been shown to more readily store fat, instead of breaking it down to use as energy.
Power up your regular chores.
Vacuuming, dusting, mopping, raking leaves or mowing the lawn – all these activities can add up to some spectacular exercise. Instead of performing each task in a slow and methodical manner, do them carefully yet vigorously. Boost the calorie burn even further by flipping on some fast-paced music and dancing while you work.
The Cold and Blah Goes to Our Heads
Winter can bring on decreased levels of happiness. It’s technically not depression, although it can trigger some of the same types of reactions. And one of those reactions is to quell our anguish with comfort foods.
Winter comfort foods tend to be high in sugar, fat and calories. We’re also twice as likely to use food to boost our mood in winter than we are during less dark and frigid seasons.
We’re on Melatonin Overload
Melatonin is the hormone triggered by darkness that makes us sleepy. Short, dark days increase our melatonin levels, leaving us sluggish and less likely to exercise. We may also be more inclined to reach for a quick carb fix in the hopes of perking us up.
Our Bodies are Programmed for It
One theory says our bodies are programmed to store fat in winter, since it was a season once associated with famine. While winter no longer brings famine, the human body has yet to shake the fat storage part of the equation.
Now that you know what contributes to winter weight gain, you can suit up, get out and combat it.