Fresh air and exercise help beat winter blues

Updated - November 17, 2021 07:06 am IST

Published - December 07, 2009 04:20 pm IST - Berlin

The primary cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or “winter blues” is shortage of daylight. Morning walker pass through Misty environment, at Cubbon Park. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

The primary cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or “winter blues” is shortage of daylight. Morning walker pass through Misty environment, at Cubbon Park. Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Fresh air and exercise usually help lift sagging spirits in the gloom of late autumn and winter, a leading Psychiatrist told the German Press Agency DPA.

“One reason for low spirits is that we spend less time out of doors and are less active in the winter,” said Frank Schneider, president of the German Society of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Nervous Diseases (DGPPN) and Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at Aachen University Hospital.

Schneider said that lethargy and difficulty getting up in the morning were not unusual during those months.

The primary cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or “winter blues,” he said, is a shortage of daylight. It is not an illness, however, and shouldn’t be confused with clinical depression, whose chief symptoms are profound sadness, apathy and lack of energy lasting at least two weeks. Someone with these symptoms should consult his or her family doctor or a psychiatrist.

Schneider said that people could go without natural light for a long time so long as they had sufficient social contact. “They’re in a lousy mood but don’t automatically become depressed,” he remarked.

Bright light therapy has proven effective in helping some depressed people, though, he pointed out. The lamps stimulate the brain into not secreting the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, thus helping to restore a normal wake-sleep cycle and enhancing mood.

Such lamps are unnecessary for healthy people with seasonally low spirits - and declaring otherwise is “piffle,” Scheider remarked.

Getting fresh air and exercise is enough. He noted that people received sufficient luminous stimuli out of doors even when skies were overcast.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.