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Exercise to Beat Winter Blues

Jogging Linked with Favorable Mood Changes 

It’s that time of year again: The holidays are over, the temperatures are dropping and the days grow dark by 5 pm. What’s the easiest way to look on the bright side? Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and add some exercise to your day, says a 2016 study published in the Journal of Sport Behavior

Fifty-five college students at Bowling Green State University were asked to jog for 15 minutes at their preferred intensity. Right before and after exercising, participants answered questions about their moods and exercise habits. Among the whole group, just a short bout of exercise led to significant increases in vigor and decreases in depression, anger, tension and fatigue. Even students who said they didn’t like to exercise saw favorable changes in mood—that’s good news for most! 

During the cold winter months it can be tough to exercise—a simple jog outside can’t always happen in the ice and snow. Get creative to fit your activity in! Try downhill or cross-country skiing, snow shoeing or sledding—running up that hill can be a real workout. If you prefer to keep it indoors, group exercise classes are a way to keep it fun. If that’s not an option, stay home and pop in a workout DVD or find videos online. If you keep your heart rate up you’ll keep your mood up too! 

BONUS: Hate to run? Try yoga! A study from Boston University found yogis had 14% higher levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter linked, at low levels, to depression and even epilepsy.

Published January 1, 2017

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