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Try these tips for maintaining your winter exercise routine this winter:

Has your mood darkened with the shorter days and longer nights of fall and winter? If you’re like many people, getting less sunshine and being less active this time of year can contribute to feelings of sadness and apathy that may be associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD). Thegoodnews isthatregularexercisecanhelpboostyourmoodand guard against symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Exercise & Seasonal Affective Disorder AccordingtotheCanadianMentalHealthAssociation,about2-3percent of Canadians experience SAD (also known as seasonal depression). Another 15 percent experience a milder form making them slightly depressedwhilestillableto live lifewithoutmajordisruptions.People with SAD make up about 10 percent of all depression cases. But research shows that many people can manage or avoid SAD with 30- 60 minutes of exercise and 20 minutes of exposure to sunlight each day. In addition, data show exercisers have lower rates of recurrent depression compared with study participants who do not exercise. These figures emphasize the importance of exercising throughout the winter, especially if your goal is health and well-being as well as a trim waistline.

• Arrange your schedule to start and end later or earlier so that you can exercise outside after sunrise or before sundown. • Get outside to walk, jog, run, snowshoe, or cross country ski. The exposure to sunlight can help increase your vitamin D levels and elevate your mood. • Enlist the services of a personal fitness trainer. Many people find meetingwithapersonalfitnesstrainerhelpsthemstickwiththeir exercise routine. Personal fitness trainers also can help vary workouts to keep them interesting and effective. Get Professional Help If You Need It Although lack of sunlight and activity often are culprits of seasonal affectivedisorder,geneticsandhormonalchangesalsomaycontribute tothecondition. Ifexercisealonedoesn’t improveyourmoodandyour sadness persists for more than 2 weeks, schedule an appointment withoneofourphysiotherapists.Wewillprovideyouwith techniques in addition to exercise to manage stress. References: RosenLN,TargumSD,TermanM.Prevalenceofseasonalaffectivedisorderat four latitudes.PsychRes.1990.31;131-144. RosenthalNE.Winterblues:everything youneed toknow tobeatseasonalaffectivedisorder.NewYork,NY:Guilford Press;2006. BlumenthalJA,BabyakMA,DoraiswamyPM,etal.Exerciseandpharmacotherapy in the treatmentofmajordepressive disorder.PsychosomMed.2007;69(7):587-96. Canadian Mental Health Association. Seasonal affective disorder. disorder-2/.AccessedOctober29,2019.

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