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Swim off the winter blues

As the nights draw in and the temperatures plummet, you may find that your mood takes a bit of a dip during the winter months too.

Over 2 million people in the UK suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), due to the shorter daylight hours. So, if the short, dark days are getting you down, swimming could help you to feel a little more like yourself again.

As well as increasing energy levels using light therapy, another weapon against the winter blues is to keep active.

Swimming is a particularly effective way of combating SAD. Not only will it keep you out of the cold, but it is a great way to relax, unwind your mind and retain the positive sense of wellbeing that you experience during the summer months.

A regular swim is also believed to increase the mood-regulating chemical serotonin in the brain, giving you an extra boost.

If you feel like you need a pick me up, try following the British Gas Swimfit Health programme and see how swimming for just 30 minutes a couple of times a week can help you this winter.

Combining swimming with light therapy can also help to ward off SAD in the winter months.

Jonathan Cridland, CEO of light therapy specialist Lumie, said: “Due to reduced daylight availability and dark winter days, this time of year can feel depressing for anyone, but combined with the aftermaths of Christmas where people have eaten and drank to excess and are feeling the pinch of spending too much money, it’s no surprise people are feeling low and are suffering from a touch of the winter blues or more severe SAD.

“Exercise can really help to boost mood.  Alternatively light therapy has been scientifically proven to treat SAD and boost mood.

"Because light acts as a stimulant, it can make us feel more positive, upbeat and full of life. It can also keep our circadian rhythm (internal body clock) aligned with each day, controlling bodily functions like when we should eat, sleep etc.”

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