The shorter, darker days of winter present a mental health challenge to many people. For some, the seasonal shift can lead to a clinically depressive state aptly called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Symptoms include low energy, lack of motivation, disrupted sleep and a sense of hopelessness. Whether you’re experiencing SAD or proactively looking to ward off depression, with a little physical effort you can tap into your body’s natural ability to boost your mental health during the gloomier days of the season.
It’s no secret that regular physical activity is good for the body, reducing the risk of developing debilitating issues and diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. But moving your body also offers profound benefits in terms of reducing stress, anxiety and depression.
Even better, it takes less effort than you might think to realize the mental benefits. Brisk walking and other moderate activity can promote psychological health just as well as more rigorous workouts, according to the American Psychological Association.
Excerpted from CNN