The fun way to shake off the winter blues is through Bellydancing.
“Bellydance is the perfect way to keep those winter blues at bay,” Clare Godfrey, a Registered Nurse said. “It helps you feel well mentally and physically during the winter months when you're particularly susceptible to putting on weight and feel down in the dumps.”
It is well known that winter is a time when a lot of people put on weight. This is due to the cold weather - our bodies automatically request more food so as to increase our fat level and keep us warmer. This biological phenomenon served humans well many thousands of years ago when they had less sturdy shelter and access to clothing was not as straight forward as it is today. But for us in modern day Sydney, that extra layer of fat does nothing but get in the way of us looking our best and feeling our healthiest and fittest.
“The trouble is, our bodies don't realise that it's the year 2000 and that we don't have trouble finding clothes or shelter,” Ms Godfrey said. So they still try to protect us from the cold by asking for more food during the winter months. The result: we put on unwanted and unneeded weight in winter. So how can we prevent this?
“Rule number one is not to fight the body,” said Ms Godfrey, “In other words, don't deny your body food by starving yourself.
“Instead, increase your activity: exercise.”
Studies have shown that in winter people suffer more from depression than during the warmer months. This is thought to be for two reasons: short winter days mean more hours of the day are spent in darkness; and people often reduce their social activity during the winter months so they are more isolated.
“Bellydance is a winter sport because it is done indoors,” Ms Godfrey said. This means that wet and cold weather doesn't affect it - you can just keep on dancing all year round. “And socially, it's a great way to get out among people. So, besides increasing your fitness and helping to keep those unwanted kilos away, it is a year-round activity that allows you to meet other like minded people.”
Caption: Keeping fit: Bellydancing is a fun way to keep weight away, according to Clare Godfrey.
SAY NO TO PUPPY MILLS! SAY NO TO ANIMALS IN PETSHOPS! SAY NO TO BREEDERS!
Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance
It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.
Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.
Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.
Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.
Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.
If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.
All information and photos are copyright © Despina Rosales.