Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder by Exercising

Are you S.A.D? Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — S.A.D. begins and ends at about the same times every year. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you’re like most people with S.A.D., your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.  Of course, this condition can also be compounded by the Holidays when many people become less happy and more stressed about fulfilling their full potential in the new year.

What can you do to fight Seasonal Affective Disorder? Exercise and begin an athletic training program.

The Week reports that Swedish researchers genetically engineered mice to have high levels of protein that built up in their muscles when they exercised.  Scientists then subjected these mice and a control group to sustained, low-level stress.  After five weeks, the” normal” mice showed signs of depression.  The engineered group did not.  The Swedish researchers believe that the protein, PGC-1 [alpha] 1, helps turn a “metabolite linked to depression” into an acid that is easily passed out of the body. Co-author Jorge Ruas says, “The study proves that exercise should be prescribed for the treatment and prevention of depression.”

Improved self-esteem is a key psychological benefit of regular physical activity and maintaining weight management. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.  Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.

Regular, athletic training has been proven to:

  • Reduce stress.
  • Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression.
  • Boost self-esteem.
  • Improve sleep.

Exercise also has these added health benefits:

  • It strengthens your heart.
  • It increases energy levels.
  • It lowers blood pressure.
  • It improves muscle tone and strength.
  • It strengthens bone and joint health.
  • It helps reduce body fat.
  • It makes you look fit and healthy.

Don’t let S.A.D. get you down in 2019! Create an exercise regimen that not only sustains weight management and improves your athletic training, but also helps to boost your mood by increasing your endorphins.

Do you need assistance creating an exercise program?  Fitness for Health can help! We can customize a fitness workout to fit your exact needs. Whether you are interested in weight management, improving bone and joint health, fitness for seniors, exercise for children or adults with special needs, or kids’ health programs, our fitness trainers can individualize a workout for you.  Visit www.FitnessForHealth.org to learn about our occupational therapy and physical therapy programs.