Wake Me Up When September Ends. Fighting the autumn blues on the advice of scientists
03 october 2017
In the fall, many of us are prone to the so-called fall depression. Increasingly, mood swings occur, less often you want to get out from under the blanket (even on a weekend), extra pounds are gradually added and more than usual you want to go to the warm sea.
It’s just biology
Scientists have proven that our autumn depression has not only psychological but also biological reasons. And the more we learn about the nature of mood, the more we realize that physical activity can change it. It is through the study of depression that we know so much about the effects of sports on the brain. Ignite Yourself author John Raithy, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, believes that the best cure for blues is sports.
Candace Perth, a neurophysiologist and researcher at Johns Hopkins University, found that there are receptors in the brain that perceive neurochemicals from the opiate group. That is, in the human body there is a natural mechanism for suppressing pain with the help of molecules of substances that act like morphine. These neurochemicals are called endorphins, and they dull pain and create a feeling of euphoria. This is backed up by scientific research: elevated levels of endorphins have been found in the blood of runners. Then the term “runner’s euphoria” appeared. This is how exercise was first linked to mood.
Some more scientific terms
Gradually, the scientific boom around endorphins weakened. They were not the only reason for the improvement in the emotional state of a person. Here’s what else physical activity provokes in our body:
- The production of norepinephrine, a brain-awakening substance that increases self-esteem, is immediately increased.
- Dopamine synthesis is increased, which improves mood, brings feelings of contentment and activates the attention chain in the brain.
- The production of enzymes, a substance that gives rise to a feeling of satisfaction when we succeed in completing a task, is “triggered”.
- More serotonin is produced, which plays an important role in regulating mood, suppressing primary impulses and building self-esteem. Serotonin also helps fight stress and increases our ability to learn new things.
In simple words
The beauty of exercise is that it attacks our problems from both directions at the same time. They literally make us move, which stimulates the brain stem, breathes energy, passion, zest for life, and motivation into us. We feel more energized. Exercises become proof that we can do something concrete.
Okay, how much?
There is research showing that even short physical activity can improve mood. For example, in 2001, Sherrill Hansen, a professor of psychology at Northern Arizona University, proved that 10 minutes of exercise can make a healthy person energetic and improve their mood. But it should be borne in mind that it is difficult to achieve stable changes in such a short time.
The exact answer to the question “How much do you need to do?” no. Either way, a little exercise is good too. But the more the better (within reason). John Raty recommends 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. With an average human weight of 68 kilograms, this means about three hours of exercise per week. Low intensity – 80 minutes of lessons per week.
To calculate how many calories you should burn per week in high intensity mode, multiply your weight by 8, and then notice how many calories you burn per session (most machines are equipped with these calculators). If you weigh 68 kilograms and burn 200 calories in one session, you need to do 6 sessions per week to “fit” into the calculations.
If training is a burden
Scientific studies show that even those who hate training tend to switch to a positive wave after class ends. Good company helps alleviate the “suffering” in the gym, because human beings are social animals. When your day isn’t working out or you’re having a tough time in your life, it’s best to choose activities that encourage social contact and take place outdoors. And remember: by “pulling” the brain out of the autumn melancholy, into which it fell, you get a goal and self-worth, opening up a positive future.
If you feel like the mood is frowning like the sky in October, then make yourself a schedule of daily walks, runs, bike rides or dance classes. If you cannot sleep, take a short walk even at dusk and do it every day. Take your dog, spouse or friend with you – run from depression together. Burn those 1,400 calories like your life depends on it, and nip the problem in the bud.
Based on materials from the book “Light Yourself”.
Post cover: pixabay.