Mental Health/Nervous System

Can Walking Prevent or Lessen the Effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is also known as "winter depression" or "winter blues" indicative of a change in mood during the winter months to a depressed state and affects between 10-25 million Americans annually. Often this disorder manifests itself in feelings of depression, loss of energy, craving of sweets and carbohydrates, and over sleeping.

If you feel you may be affected by this condition it is wise to consult with your physician to determine your specific treatment. Normally, light therapy and dietary changes are prescribed along with exercise. However, during the winter months many individuals forgo the the exercise component due to harsh weather conditions and a lack of energy.

Treadmill desks offer a solution that allows an individual to engage in moderate physical activity without the need to engage harsh weather conditions and also does not take any additional time out of their day.

Moderate intensity exercise such as walking has been shown to have pronounced effects in boosting moods by increasing the production of endorphins and neurotransmitters such as Seratonin and Dopamine, necessary in the prevention of SAD. In fact many physicians feel that it SAD is due in part to a drop in levels of Seratonin.

Researchers at Indiana University found a significant decrease in depression levels for at least two hours after a period of moderate exercise. In fact the most beneficial exercise cited is walking.

Many experts agree that exercise is important in lessening the effects and stalling the onset of SAD. We strongly advise active physician involvement however bear in mind that a regular walking program of five miles per day, achievable in 3-4 hours at a treadmill desk, may be all the preventative medicine needed to keep these symptoms at bay.