Blue Monday: Get walking to beat the January blues

People are being encouraged to get walking to keep Blue Monday at bay.

Walking can help beat the Blue Monday blues - even if the weather is bad.
Walking can help beat the Blue Monday blues - even if the weather is bad.

Today is thought to be the most depressing day of the year, due to the weather, debt levels and the fact Christmas seems a long time ago.

Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, is encouraging people to get walking to beat the blues.

There are several studies which show the positive effect walking has on mental wellbeing.

Physically active people are up to 30 per cent less likely to become depressed, and staying active helps those who are depressed recover

Exercise also stimulates endorphins, which helps improve sleep quality and reduce the feelings of stress.

Top tips for beating the blues alongside exercising include eating well, socialising and getting as much daylight as possible.

Jenny Wiles, Living Streets' regional director (North East and Yorkshire), said: “The benefits of exercise on our physical health are often promoted, but exercise has very positive effects on our mental health too.

“Walking boosts happiness levels, which is especially important during the winter months when many of us travel to and from work in the dark.

“We’re encouraging people to go for a lunchtime walk with friends or colleagues to ensure they’re getting out in the daylight hours, socialising and getting some exercise – all of which will help with the winter blues.”

Symptoms of depression include fatigue, apathy, disturbed sleep or becoming withdrawn. Those experiencing more persistent issues should visit their GP.