Most people would say that the colder months of the year bring a season to be jolly about. But despite the holiday meals or the elaborate decorations, the months of fall and winter bring a very unwanted gift that seems to get unwrapped by over 10 million Americans each year: Season Affective Disorder (SAD). The symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as winter depression) usually begin in the fall leading into the winter months due to the elevated levels of melatonin produced by the brain during hours of darkness. As a result, the body’s natural cycle is affected, leaving you in an uncelebrated mood for your all of your holiday festivities.
Aside from light box therapy, one of the most inexpensive ways to combat these SAD symptoms is to implement a daily exercise plan to throughout the holiday season. Regular exercise (at least 30 minutes a day) has been shown to improve the sleep/wake cycle, increase immunity and energy levels and reduce carbohydrate cravings, which is extremely common during the holiday time.
Most importantly, exercise releases endorphins (the body’s natural form of pain medication) into your system, giving you that “good feeling” that is you would expect of yourself when opening up presents or leaving your mother-in-law’s house.
So take 30 minutes out of your day during the holiday season to exercise and add some happiness back to your health. It’s the best present you could ask Santa for this coming holiday season.
-Studio 26 blog contributor Jimmy Martin