Exercise and Seasonal Affective Disorder

November 13, 2019

 

 

November is here; the days are getting shorter and the temperature is (much much) colder. Many people find this time of year especially challenging when it comes to maintaining their exercise routine. Part of the reason for the struggle may be that over 10 million Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Starting in the Fall and usually ending by early Spring, this form of depression includes symptoms such as low energy, a sudden drop in mood, trouble sleeping, and having a difficult time concentrating. This article discusses how exercise can be an effective way to treat depression, specifically SAD. While the cold and dark can make exercising less desirable, modifying both your exercise program  (what you're doing) and expectations (how often, how hard, how much) can be helpful in making exercise feel like less of a chore. What you do in the Summer does not have to be the same as what you do in the Winter. Can you exercise for a shorter duration? Should you change the type of exercise you are doing? Maybe, you need to change the time of day you are exercising! Don't be afraid to mix it up, especially if it is more likely you will stick to a routine. Remember, as little as ten minutes of moderate intensity exercise has been shown to have both physical and mental health benefits. That's ten minutes of walking, biking, or just moving around your house. Doing SOMETHING is always better than doing nothing, especially when it comes to managing your mood.

 

SAD: how exercise can ease symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

 

 

References:

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0301/p1531.html 

 

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