Cure Winter Depression with Exercise?

With winter in full swing and most of the country dealing with record breaking lows, snow, wind and sleet; do you find yourself more sluggish, not interested in work or hanging with your friends? Have you had less energy and been gaining weight? Well you are not alone 4 to 6 percent of people in the U.S have Seasonal Affective Disorder also known as winter depression or seasonal depression. What is Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD? – A type of depression that happens during a certain time of year usually the winter. Medical professionals believe the condition is related to decreasing sunlight and how it affects your natural body chemistry. Don’t fret; if you are diagnosed with SAD, there are many ways to treat it. One of the most common treatments is light therapy also known as phototherapy which uses different colors of lights to treat this disorder. Exercise is another way to treat SAD A 20 minute workout can elevate a person’s mood for up to 12 hours. “Anytime of the year exercise is key – day or night – and this can be a key treatment for anxiety and depression,” - Dr. Randolph Reister of Northfield Hospital and clinic. Being physically active during the winter season will improve your energy levels and keep depression at bay. Exercise first thing in the morning as to get your endorphin levels up right away, exercise has been proven to lower stress, fight against anxiety and depression and increase self-esteem. “Exercise raises your heart rate and triggers a surge of hormonal changes. Expose yourself to this ‘stress’ enough and your body builds up immunity to it. Eventually, it will get better at handling the rest of the life’s stressors,” said Jasper Smits Ph.D., coauthor of Exercise for the Mood and Anxiety. So if you are suffering from SAD or feeling low and you can’t exercise outside because of the winter cold, pop in a workout DVD or go to the and try a few of the workouts listed. Turn your SAD into HAPPY!

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