Ahead of the clocks going back this weekend, with the days getting shorter and the mornings and evenings darker, David Lloyd Fitness Clubs at Cheshire Oaks is launching a new health and fitness class to beat the winter blues otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Primarily targeted at the one in five Brits that suffer from winter sadness, the pioneering new 25 minute session called Vitamin Me starts with guests switching on their light therapy lamp for 15 minutes of artificial day light, proven to improve mood and energy levels and ends with a high intensity 10-minute cardio session designed to release endorphins that trigger a feel-good feeling in the body and mind.
Through a combination of light lamp therapy, HIIT exercises that release good-mood endorphins and the familiar sights, sounds and smells of summer, the 30-minute class is a multi-sensory experience designed to make guests feel like they are still in the hazy days of summer.
On arrival at the Vitamin Me classes, guests are greeted not with mats or dumbbells, but with sun loungers, the scent of sun cream, the sounds of waves lapping through their headphones and a pit of sand to dip their feet into.
Some gentle stretches open the class, and then once comfy on their sun loungers, guests switch on their light therapy lamp for 15 minutes of artificial day light, proven to improve mood and energy levels. The class ends with a high intensity 10-minute cardio session designed to release endorphins that trigger a feel-good feeling in the body and mind.
The development of the Vitamin Me class comes as research reveals that 41% of people say the clocks going back changes their mood for the worse. Women are more likely to be affected than men, and 45-54-year-olds are those who feel the effects of the ‘winter blues’ the most.
Psychologist and seasonal affective disorder expert Elaine Slater said: “One in five people in the UK experience mildly debilitating symptoms of SAD or winter blues. It’s a complex condition that recurs each year, most likely triggered by a lack of natural daylight in winter. It affects levels of the hormones melatonin and serotonin in the part of the brain controlling mood, sleep and appetite; our circadian rhythms.
“Long periods of gloomy skies and longer darker evenings can trigger low mood, sleep problems, overeating and anxiety.
“During shorter winter days it can be difficult to spend time outside in natural light, especially when people are busy with work.
“According to the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association, light therapy has been shown to be effective in up to 85 per cent of SAD cases. Light therapy compensates for the shortage of natural sunlight and is one of the most popular and effective treatments for SAD.
“Light therapy helps to improve mood and feel more energised, and the 20 minutes of light therapy during the Vitamin Me class is the ideal time for people to sit in the light of a SAD lamp. If you can’t make it along to a David Lloyd class, then use any opportunity to be exposed to natural light when possible, in particular during your lunch hour at work.”
A spokesperson from David Lloyd Club said: “We are always looking for innovative classes to introduce to our clubs that really benefit our members. When we discovered that 41% of people suffered due to the change in weather and daylight hours, we wanted to introduce a class that helped combat those feelings and so the Vitamin Me class was developed.2
Vitamin Me classes are to be held at David Lloyd, Cheshire Oaks over the weekend of Saturday, October 28 and Sunday, October 29. The classes are open to both members and non-members. Those wishing to register can do so at www.davidlloyd.co.uk/vitaminme , with spaces available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Depending on the success of the trial, David Lloyd Clubs will look into rolling out the class across the UK during the winter months.