Dec 18, 2012

The Y can help you beat the winter woes

GREENVILLE – When the weather turns cold and the days get short, it can be hard to stay active, let alone get outside to soak up some sun. When we are exposed to less sunlight, neurochemicals in the brain can be affected and many people can develop depression-like symptoms, including a lack of energy and sleeping too much. If you experience such mood changes at the onset of winter, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder.

While a decrease in activity is somewhat normal for many when the weather changes, for some people, the change of seasons can pose a real challenge to their mental well-being. Additional symptoms include appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates such as pastas, rice, bread and cereal, weight gain, irritability, anxiety, social withdrawal, loss of interest in activities you normally enjoy, and difficulty concentrating and processing information. What can you do if you suspect you have more than the winter blahs? While it may sound good to eat a plate of pasta and crawl back into bed, that won’t offer much long-term help. You can take better steps to manage your mood.

You should consult with your doctor, but some people respond well to light therapy, while others find an afternoon dose of melatonin is helpful. For many people, getting some regular exercise may be enough to help. The Y is open seven days a week during the winter months, available to help you get moving and feel better. They have classes and programs for any age, preschool up through senior citizens. The Y is a great place to bring the family so that everyone benefits from increased activity.

DON’T FORGET: It’s not too late to give the gift of health this holiday season! The Y has gift certificates available for any service they provide, whether it’s a massage or spa service, fitness classes or personal trainer sessions, or memberships.

If you are not yet a member of the Y, remember they have affordable memberships for everyone. They do not turn anyone away for inability to pay. They have programs in place to provide financial assistance to those in need. To see if you qualify, visit the Y and ask about their scholarship assistance program.

UPCOMING: The first week of January (Jan. 2-5) is “Try The Y” Week. The building will be open to the public and there will be free classes through the week. Come in and see what they have to offer!

For more information about membership or programs, visit them online at www.ymcadarkecounty.org or call the Y at 548-3777.

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