Fitness and health briefs, March 11

Seasonal affective disorder affects 15 million people
Oklahoman Modified: March 10, 2014 at 3:57 pm •  Published: March 11, 2014
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Health briefs

Beat the cold-weather Blues

Shoveling snow, scraping windshields and running from the car to the office burns calories, but enough is enough. We can’t take it anymore, winter! We’re tired. We’re cold. We want spring! But alas, it’s only March.

This long, dark season not only causes frustration and hibernation — some 15 million people are affected by the depressive condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Fortunately, there are effective strategies to help combat the winter blues, and I’m sharing:

•Get Movin’ for a Mood Boost: On below zero days, a couch, blanket and cranked thermostat are much more enticing than venturing outside to hit the gym. But here’s the deal: exercise can help banish your winter blues and shouldn’t be skipped. Whether you grab a basketball, a dumbbell or a yoga mat, a good sweat session releases feel-good brain chemicals that reduce depression and improve your mood. Plus, your metabolism and energy level will both stay elevated for a few hours after your workout. So brave the cold and move. It’s worth it!

•Try Aromatherapy: Not the fancy essential oil type? Think again. A study by the National Institutes of Health found that aromatherapy can be an effective supplementary treatment for people with depressive symptoms. Try adding a couple drops of lavender, bergamot or jasmine essential oils to a diffuser, aroma lamp or a bath.

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