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DAVENPORT, Iowa — According to the National Institute of Mental Health, millions of Americans may suffer from seasonal depression every year. Many may not even know they have the condition. The NIMH claims that scientists do not fully understand what causes seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder.
NIMH says some ways you can treat seasonal depression is through light therapy, antidepressants, psychotherapy (talk therapy), and Vitamin D. Always speak with your health care provider to determine the best course for treatment.
Anthony Peters with QuickHIT Fitness Labs in Davenport joined News 8’s David Bohlman on Good Morning Quad Cities to talk about Seasonal Depression and why fitness may be another way to treat your seasonal depression or prevent it from affecting you to begin with.
BOHLMAN: What is the correlation between mental health and physical health?
PETERS: So we’ve kind of known that there is a strong correlation between the two; mental and physical. When one declines, the other one is going to follow. It has been shown through various studies that, that is the case. So when we can increase physical activity in a safe and efficient way, it’s going to help our mental health too. And especially in a time where anywhere from three to 6 million Americans are affected by seasonal affective disorder, it’s more crucial than ever to get moving.
BOHLMAN: Why is it recommended that we exercise as a way to treat it?
PETERS: So with exercise, we’re going to release endorphins. These are our feel-good hormones that are going to help improve our feelings of overall well-being. With that, we’re also going to see an increase in energy which we know we see decreased during this time so that anything anytime you can get more energy during this time, the better with that it can also improve our just day to day habits, rituals, all that fun stuff, because you’re going to get into a schedule and a habit doing that as well.
BOHLMAN: We are human, and getting motivated to work out can be a challenge, how do we jump-start our motivation?
PETERS: Take the time to re-frame your thoughts on exercise, there’s a lot of crazy information out there’s a lot of crazy people doing crazy things with exercise. Break up what you’re doing, in smaller, more doable chunks rather than the hour, two hours that you see everyone doing all the time on social media. If you are starting from nothing, it’s better to start with 10 to 15 minutes every other day than going all out and doing too much and then discouraging yourself. It is recommended to do 30 – 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each day. But starting from somewhere is better than not doing anything at all.
BOHLMAN: What are some of the other recommended workouts that you recommend for us to battle seasonal depression?
PETERS: Yoga and just gentle stretching is great. It’s especially great when it’s something that you’re just trying to start and get into. It’s going to help with mental state and a feeling of calmness, all that fun stuff. Cardio is good, kind of get in your head. Think for yourself for a while rather, it’s walking, biking, swimming, running, whatever you enjoy doing. And on top of that, when you find something that you enjoy and even share it with others it can become like a social time and if you like it, you’re going to do it a lot more often. So if you just find a way to move that you enjoy a lot more likely keep it up
QuickHIT Fitness Labs is located at 1224 E. 37th Street in Davenport, Iowa.
You can learn more about seasonal affective disorder by clicking here.
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