It's been widely suggested that vitamin D, often called the sunshine vitamin, may play a role in mental health. Indeed, women with SAD tend to have low D levels; getting enough of the stuff might help improve depression. While scientists figure out why, it's a good idea to make sure your D level is adequate, says Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson, Sc.D., a vitamin D specialist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Between 1,000 and 2,000 IU daily may help even out winter moods--not to mention bolster everything from colon to bone to breast health.
When your jogging path is covered in three inches of ice, you could wallow between the sheets…or you could hit the treadmill. One study showed that about 60 minutes of daily indoor cardio was just as effective as light therapy in whacking back SAD--and any form of aerobic exercise helps depression. In one study, moderately depressed people who walked briskly three times a week for four months saw their symptoms ebb (those only on meds saw less of a turnaround). While you're sweating, pick up some dumbbells--preferably, ones heavy enough to tire you out after about 10 reps. Intense strength training can unleash a hefty shot of serotonin, and regularly lifting heavy weights can significantly reduce many SAD symptoms, says The Journals of Gerontology.
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