We’re well on our way to winter and for many of us, the overwhelming urge to hibernate is something we wrestle with each year.
The lack of motivation during the winter months can lead to extra pounds and a loss of fitness by the time spring finally rolls around. So how can we resist the natural urge to be lazy throughout the winter? Understanding why we feel this way in the first place is a good start.
The laws of hibernation are odd. Evidence of man’s pre-historical hibernation can be found in about 20% of all humans. According to a report published in the American Family Physician, nearly 20% of people suffer from Season Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD seems to occur with shorter days and colder temperatures.
Symptoms of SAD include depression, desire to sleep, lethargy, and overeating. Essentially this is your body asking to hibernate.
It’s likely that SAD is a distant remnant of a time when either we, or our ancestors, hibernated. This biological safety net is our body saying “Don’t bother expending valuable calories, you won’t find them.” Hibernation is really just energy conservation. It’s an adaptation to resource limitation. Hibernation evolved to allow animals to make it through periods of extreme hardship when food was scarce.
It wasn’t that long ago that people prepared for the long winter months. Like other animals, we fattened up our storehouses to sustain us through the winter. Fortunately, we no longer have to spend our summer months stockpiling for winter.
So what can you do to avoid this seasonal lack of motivation? Here are a couple of suggestions: stay active, stay positive, stay warm, stay prepared, and try to stay sunny.
It’s natural to feel slow and sluggish during the winter months. It’s okay. The key is to not allow your motivation to hibernate.