How physical activity can treat winter depression
The shorter, darker days of winter present a mental health challenge to many people. For some, the seasonal shift can lead to a clinically depressive state aptly called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.
Symptoms include low energy, lack of motivation, disrupted sleep and a sense of hopelessness.
Whether you’re experiencing SAD or proactively looking to ward off depression, with a little physical effort you can tap into your body’s natural ability to boost your mental health during the gloomier days of the season.
It’s no secret that regular physical activity is good for the body, reducing the risk of developing debilitating issues and diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. But moving your body also offers profound benefits in terms of reducing stress, anxiety and depression.
Even better, it takes less effort than you might think to realize the mental benefits. Brisk walking and other moderate activity can promote psychological health just as well as more rigorous workouts, according to the American Psychological Association.
When you’re feeling down, the thought of exercising might seem overwhelming, but simply putting one foot in front of the other can get you on the path to overcoming seasonal blues.
Walking is one of the most accessible, beneficial aerobic exercises you can do. With a supportive pair of walking shoes and a little attention to proper form, you can start walking your way to feeling better in your body and mind.
Don’t let winter weather hinder your ability to take a walk. Hop on a treadmill, if you have access to one, or do laps inside at your local mall. Many malls unlock their doors early to allow walkers to get their steps in before the stores open.
Read full article at CNN