Ease seasonal affective disorder with an exercise routine

Ease seasonal affective disorder with an exercise routine

Ease seasonal affective disorder with an exercise routine

Abstract: Exercise can help improve the mood and overall symptoms of those suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Source: Baylor School of Medicine

As the days get shorter and darker, people can feel affected by seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The drop in mood that occurs with the change in light is probably related to the reduced level of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, in the body.

If you are affected by SAD, it is important to continue your exercise routine because exercise lifts your mood. A Baylor College of Medicine expert explains how to switch up your exercise routine during the darker months.

“With seasonal affective disorder, it’s desirable to continue exercising or maybe even increase exercise,” said Dr. James McDeavitt, professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and executive vice president and dean of clinical affairs at Baylor.

“Relatively continuous aerobic exercise has a positive effect on mood, but you don’t just have to run or do aerobics – you can do things like yoga, tai chi or meditation, which help with symptoms of depression.”

Exercising outdoors

If you like to run or exercise outdoors, you can do so safely before sunrise or after sunset as long as you are visible. McDeavitt recommends wearing reflective clothing, as well as a flashing light that can be clipped to your clothing or shoes. He also suggests leaving your headphones at home and listening to your surroundings and surroundings.

“There is a balance. Find somewhere isolated enough to be protected from traffic, while making sure there are enough people around you to feel safe. You can also carry personal protection with you,” he said.

Try to find a predictable running surface, such as a trail or a well-paved road, to avoid injuries when running in low light conditions.

Exercise indoors

Incorporate resistance training into your home workout routine using dumbbells or resistance bands. You can repeat most resistance exercises with only elastic resistance bands.

Other bodyweight exercises that can easily be done at home include push-ups, planks and squats. If you have the funds, you can purchase an aerobics machine for the home, such as an exercise bike or a treadmill.

Ease seasonal affective disorder with an exercise routine
Incorporate resistance training into your home workout routine using dumbbells or resistance bands. The image is in the public domain

“There is value in maintaining your routine seasonally. Even if you regularly run outdoors in the spring and have to move indoors in the winter, don’t give up on your exercise,” McDeavitt said.

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She also recommends incorporating a mindfulness component into your training, such as engaging in a stretching program a few times a week or practicing yoga or tai chi.

“There are things you can do indoors that not only benefit you physically, but also benefit you emotionally,” he said.

To develop a habit, it takes about three months of constant engagement in an activity. When you stop an activity, you’ll likely break the habit faster than you built it. The key is to maintain an exercise habit by setting aside some time each day to do it.

“You experience low levels of serotonin and dopamine in US, depression or other conditions, but there is a benefit to increasing neurotransmitter levels through exercise,” McDeavitt said.

If you experience symptoms of depression, seasonal or not, contact your primary care physician and get help. Dialing 988 across the United States will connect you to the Suicide & Crisis Hotline, providing confidential support to those in need.

About this seasonal affective disorder and exercise research news

Author: Homa Salci
Source: Baylor School of Medicine
Contact: Homa Shalchi – Baylor College of Medicine
Picture: The image is in the public domain


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