Exercise is important for everyone as it has so many physical and psychological benefits – even half an hour of exercise several times a well may result in significant improvement to one’s energy levels. Regular exercise is especially helpful for individuals suffering from mental health conditions involving symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Why is Exercise Helpful for Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder?
In addition to using a light therapy box, exercise is recognised as a key, effective form of treatment for those suffering from depression, alcoholism, relating to seasonal affective disorder or SAD. Many research studies on depression have suggested that combining regular exercise with a healthy, nutritious diet are key.
Physiological benefits associated with exercise occur very quickly and can include reduced symptoms of depression, increased immunity and a reduction in carbohydrate cravings – a very common symptom in SAD.
An additional benefit to SAD sufferers is that engaging in regular exercise will not only help with weight management by reducing appetite, but it will also help combat the other two main symptoms of SAD by increasing energy levels and helping one sleep better.
Why Exercise Is Best Done Outdoors
As seasonal affective disorder is directly related to a lack of exposure to sunlight, it is more beneficial to engage in forms of exercise outdoors, since natural light is limited inside a gym. This is supported by numerous research studies which indicate that this combination of light and exercise is one of the most effective ways to help improve one’s mood.
Exercising outdoors — even if it’s just walking the dog for a short distance — is better than remaining indoors, even if the weather is cloudy.
How Does Exercise Lift Mood?
Research studies have shown that in some cases engaging in regular exercise may achieve the same results as antidepressant medication and can help those who are under drugs. It is also well known that exercise releases the “feel good hormone” known as endorphin, which in turn, result in an increased feeling of well-being.
Endorphins are also the body’s natural form of painkillers and it is through exercising for at least thirty minutes that the brain becomes stimulated leading to release these hormones.
Any form of exercise, if undertaken outside during daylight hours, will likely bring significant benefits to those who are suffering from depression and other symptoms associated with seasonal affective disorder. To begin, opting to walk to work or to the local shop (instead of driving) will make a noticeable difference.
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