Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder by Exercising

January 15th, 2019

The Week reports that Swedish researchers genetically engineered mice to have high levels of protein that built up in their muscles when they exercised.  Scientists then subjected these mice and a control group to sustained, low-level stress.  After five weeks, the” normal” mice showed signs of depression.  The engineered group did not.  The Swedish researchers believe that the protein, PGC-1 [alpha] 1, helps turn a “metabolite linked to depression” into an acid that is easily passed out of the body. Co-author Jorge Ruas says, “The study proves that exercise should be prescribed for the treatment and prevention of depression.”
Improved self-esteem is a key psychological benefit of regular physical activity and maintaining weight management. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.  Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.
Regular, athletic training has been proven to:

  • Reduce stress.
  • Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression.
  • Boost self-esteem.
  • Improve sleep.

Exercise also has these added health benefits:

  • It strengthens your heart.
  • It increases energy levels.
  • It lowers blood pressure.
  • It improves muscle tone and strength.
  • It strengthens bone and joint health.
  • It helps reduce body fat.
  • It makes you look fit and healthy.

Don’t let S.A.D. get you down! Create an exercise regimen that not only sustains weight management and improves your athletic training, but also helps to boost your mood by increasing your endorphins.
Do you need assistance creating an exercise program?  Fitness for Health can help! We can customize a fitness workout to fit your exact needs. Whether you are interested in weight management, improving bone and joint health, fitness for seniors, exercise for children or adults with special needs, or kids’ health programs, our fitness trainers can individualize a workout for you.  Visit to learn about our occupational therapy and physical therapy programs.]]>

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