Ways to combat ‘Blue Monday’

Alberta winters can be challenging, with short days and cold winter weather hitting us for up to five months. It’s Blue Monday, which is reportedly the saddest day of the calendar year. Dr. Leigh Vanderloo, the scientific director of the nonprofit group ParticipACTION, says implementing physical activity can help stimulate our brains and improve our mental health.

“Physical activity has a number of key health benefits. We typically think of the physical benefits, so improved heart health on our joints and muscles, which are great and definitely true. But I think what we oftentimes overlook is the impact that movement has on our brain. Specifically, looking at mental health and just a single bout of physical activity, even as short as 10-15 minutes, can have a pretty profound impact on helping us better manage stress as well as combat some of those feelings of depression or anxiety or negative thoughts or just boost our overall mood. So we’re feeling a little bit more positive.”

According to ParticipACTION, 81 per cent of Albertans agree that physical activity improves their mood. Over 30 per cent think it takes 30-60 minutes of activity to feel any mood boosting benefits.

Additional data from the organization highlights what Albertans face throughout the harsh minter months:

  • 49 per cent of Albertans say they dread the winter because it impacts their mood negatively
  • 48 per cent of Alberta residents cited getting more sleep as the top way to cope with the winter blues, versus 40 per cent citing being physically active
  • 84 per cent of Albertans think they need 15-60 minutes of physical activity to feel a mood improvement, yet 25 per cent say that time is a barrier to getting more movement (the highest in the country) 
  • While a relatively high percentage of Albertans say lack of time is an issue to getting active in the winter months, 68% say their screen time for non-working purposes per day averages more than two hours

Micah Quinn

After graduating from Mount Royal University in Calgary with a Broadcasting Diploma, Micah made the trek down to Lethbridge to work for Bridge City News. He has previously worked at City TV Calgary on the Breakfast Television morning show. He looks forward to connecting with this community, and reaching a new audience. Micah has a passion for interviewing and finding out why people think the way they do. You’ll often find him pursuing local feature stories and hard news.

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