Mood-Boosting Exercises for Seasonal Depression

The Rack Athletic Performance Center

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a combination of biological and mood disturbances typically occurring in the autumn and winter months. SAD is characterized by recurrent episodes of depression, hypersomnia, carbohydrate cravings and weight gain.

Light therapy, pharmacotherapy (antidepressants) and cognitive behavior therapy are common mainstream treatment options, but there are also a number of lifestyle changes that can be “affective” by increasing serotonin, a mood stabilizing neurochemical. For this post, the focus will be…


Exercise is an effective tool to ease depression due to:

  • The release of “feel-good” brain chemicals including serotonin, endorphins, and other hormones. 
  • The reduction of specific immune system chemicals, such as cytokines.
  • An increase in body temperature, which can have calming effects

In conjunction with the physiological aspects, the psychological effects of regular exercise include:

  • Increases in self-confidence.
  • Provides a distraction from the cycle of negative thoughts that can fuel anxiety and depression.
  • Facilitates social interaction, which can improve your mood, especially in a group setting.
  • Provides a healthy coping strategy.

So don’t let the winter blues get in your way. Talk to a trainer and get started moving to start feeling better!

Brandon Bailey


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