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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). The good news is that regular exercise can help boost your mood and guard against symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. EXERCISE AND SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, 14 percent of people in the United States experience SAD (also known as seasonaldepression).Butresearchshows thatmanypeoplecanmanage oravoidSADwith30 to60minutesofexerciseand20minutesofexposure 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. Try the tips for maintaining your winter exercise routine this winter:
• Enlist the services of a personal fitness trainer. Many people find meeting with a personal fitness trainer helps them stick with their exercise routine. Personal fitness trainers also can help vary workouts to keep them interesting and effective GET PROFESSIONAL HELP FOR SAD IF YOU NEED IT Although lack of sunlight and activity often are culprits of seasonal affective disorder, genetics and hormonal changes also may contribute to the condition. If exercise alone doesn’t improve your mood and your sadness persists for more than 2 weeks, schedule an appointment with one of our physiotherapists. We will provide you with techniques in addition to exercise to manage stress. References: RosenLN,TargumSD,TermanM.Prevalenceof seasonalaffectivedisorderat four latitudes.PsychRes. 1990.31;131-144. RosenthalNE.Winterblues: everything youneed to know tobeat seasonal affectivedisorder.NewYork, NY:GuilfordPress;2006. Blumenthal JA, Babyak MA, Doraiswamy PM, et al. Exercise and pharmacotherapy in the treatment of majordepressivedisorder.PsychosomMed.2007;69(7):587-96. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention. CDC Features. Insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic.www.cdc.gov/features/dssleep/.AccessedNovember1,2016. Centers fordiseaseControlandPrevention.AlcoholandPublicHealth.Frequentlyaskedquestions.http:// www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm.AccessedNovember1,2016.
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