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Fresh, Fit and Healthy Fitness  

S
hake Off The Winter Blues


Get More Sunshine, Exercise & Sex


By Tom Bonanti

  

 

Sometime between Thanksgiving and mid- March, as the days grow shorter and the nights longer, millions of people experience a very common, but no less troubling form of depression. It is called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, also known as the ďwinter bluesĒ.

SAD affects over 10 million Americans, more women than men, and geography (actually, latitude) plays a big role in who suffers from it. People in northern cities and rural areas are especially susceptible due to long dark brooding winters. But as our climate has changed radically over the past few years, even Floridians are prone to winter time blues. The good news is that SAD is easily treatable, and hereís what you can do to insure your place in the sun:

See a doctor to assess your symptoms if your depression persists for over a week. A professional can help you determine whether you have SAD and give you several treatment and coping options. You can start by tracking your mood swings in a journal. If youíre prone to the blues around the holidays and throughout January and February each year, you probably have SAD. Besides depression, other symptoms include anxiety, social withdrawal, oversleeping, appetite changes and weight gain. Your doctor can try a host of non-drug options first, but if work performance, relationships and other abilities to cope and function continue to suffer, he may put you on an anti-depressant. Go with it, youíll feel the difference in a few days.

Face it, we in South Florida have it made! While most of the country has been shoveling snow and braving single digit temperatures since Christmas, weíve been working on our tans. Getting out into the sunshine and warmth can give you that dosage of light that you need to forget those winter woes. Exercise will also get those feel good endorphins pumping better than anything else, except of course, more sex. Itís easier to put away your gym bag when it is cold and miserable; but when itís bright and sunny, even the grumpiest bear will prefer to get out and shake it up rather than hibernating at home.

Try light therapy. Throw open the drapes and let daylight stream in as soon as you wake up. Install skylights, if possible, and keep tree limbs trimmed so they wonít obstruct sunlight shining in through the windows. If itís sunny outside take a walk during work breaks and eat your lunch outside. As the days grow longer you should feel your mood improving gradually and naturally.

Dr. Mark Leifesti, a psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of patients suffering from SAD suggests that additional relief can come from including more B and D vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, St Johnís Wort, massage, hot baths, psychotherapy, having more sex, afternoon power naps, and spending more time with your pets. Above all, take comfort in three things: youíre not a hypochondriac; youíre not turning into a grumpy, hibernating bear; and winter doesnít last forever!

If all of the above doesnít lift your spirits, grab a copy of Mark Magazine or check in with Markís List online and be a part of everything thatís cooking this season in South Florida. 

 

Fresh Fit and Healthy
TOM BONANTI IS A CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER AND
OWNER OF PUMPíN INC GYM AT 1271 NE 9TH AVENUE
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL 33304, www.pumpnincgym.com.