Doesn’t it feel like just last weekend you were at the beach soaking up the sun at the Jersey Shore? The summer has once again slipped through our fingers and the fall has made its way into the city and you’ve probably noticed the cooler temperatures and leaves changing colors. A lot of things have been going on in Philadelphia lately, the Eagles are back in the swing of things and we had Pope Francis visit for the World Meeting of Families. But now that the excitement has simmered down and we get back to our daily routine, what is the next thing to look forward to?
As the weather begins to get colder and the days become shorter, we might find ourselves falling into a slump that’s making us feel lethargic and not motivated to hit the gym. But did you know that lack of motivation and blasé feeling could be due to the season change? If you’re feeling a little SAD that the summer has left and the fall season has got you down, you could be experiencing something called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
What Is SAD?
First things first, it’s important to keep your body in tip-top shape and we all know that means regularly exercising and maintaining a healthy diet. But we have to remember a healthy body also requires a healthy mind. This time of year, as the fall season begins to progress and the days become a little dreary, some individuals may begin to express signs of depression and it’s could be due to Seasonal Affective Disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic, SAD is a type of depression that’s directly related to changes in seasons and an individual may feel sluggish, lack energy and may not have an interest in activities or routines that usually enjoy.
The American Academy of Family Physicians estimates that 20 percent of people experience this type of human seasonality, so it’s not that uncommon. It’s also more common the further north you are and as an example, it’s seven times more prevalent in Washington than it is in Florida. When you connect the two, it can paint a clear picture: we love being outdoors in the sun and when you live somewhere where it’s typically sunny and warm, you’re more inclined to spend time outside. But when the seasons change and the sunny days don’t last as long as they used to, we tend to dislike it. That sets us up to feel a little down and less motivated to maintain our active lifestyle we had from the season before.
How To Combat SAD
The symptoms of SAD usually become more severe in late fall or early winter but you can battle those blues by staying happy! And what better way to stay happy than exercise? In fact, numerous studies have found that exercise can activate the brain’s pleasure circuit and that can make you feel happy. When you exercise, your body wants you to keep going and releases endorphins that interact with the receptors in the brain. These endorphins reduce your perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling throughout the body that can be described as euphoric.
Additionally, exercise can increase dopamine production, which affects your ability to feel pleasure. This happens when you brain takes in more serotonin, a neurotransmitter, from your blood and that translates into another reaction that leads to higher levels of dopamine. By keeping these neurotransmitters at healthy levels, you’ll be able to give yourself a boost because low levels of serotonin are associated with depression. Combining the psychological benefits of exercise with the physical benefits, you’ll be happier and healthier all season long!
Are you ready to hit the best gyms in Philadelphia PA to have a healthy body and mind?