Tag Archives: winter

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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): More Than Just the Winter Blues–How PT Can Help

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While it is common to experience the “winter blues” as the days get shorter and temperatures get colder, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of clinical depression that interferes with an individual’s ability to regulate mood and function during the winter months. SAD is due, at least in part, to changes in levels of serotonin, a mood-regulating neurotransmitter. As we spend less time in the sun during the winter months, levels of serotonin in the body can decrease. Decreased sunlight and longer periods of darkness can also affect sleep by throwing off your body’s internal clock and decreasing levels of melatonin, a sleep-regulating neurotransmitter.

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SAD is diagnosed more commonly in women and individuals who live far from the equator. It is also more common in individuals with a personal or family history of depression or bipolar

disorder. A qualified psychiatric specialist must diagnose SAD. Symptoms of SAD include the following:

  • Marked decrease in energy
  • Loss of interest in activities that previously brought you pleasure
  • Excessive sleep
  • Weight gain and craving for high-carbohydrate foods
  • Depressed mood
  • Heightened feelings of emotional sensitivity, interpersonal difficulties, and irritability

 

If you experience several of these symptoms simultaneously in the wintertime, consult a psychiatrist or other mental health professional to determine whether you are suffering from SAD.

 

In addition to proper psychiatric care, physical therapy can have a beneficial impact for individuals with SAD. Exercise has been shown to have tremendous positive effects for individuals with SAD and other mood disorders. Exercise increases mood- and sleep- promoting neurotransmitters and can help to regulate chemical imbalances that result from changes in circadian rhythms and light exposure.

 

A physical therapist can assist in developing an exercise program that will improve an individual’s neurotransmitter production, thus alleviating symptoms of SAD. Physical therapy should always be used in conjunction with psychiatric care for individuals with SAD or any other mental health condition.

 

If you have been diagnosed with SAD and would like to learn more about how exercise and physical therapy can improve your condition, request an appointment with Freehold Physical Therapy today.


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Winterizing Your Fitness Routine: When and How to Bring Your Workout Indoors

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As temperatures begin to drop, don’t let the colder weather derail your fitness regimen this winter. Sure, taking a walk or jog or going for a bike ride is far easier, appealing even, when the weather is pleasant. But exercise is necessary and beneficial year round. How will you stay active this winter? Consider the following options to winterize your fitness routine.Untitled design (15)

  • Bundle Up. Dropping temperatures don’t necessarily mean you can’t exercise outdoors, especially if it’s something you truly love. Invest in warm athletic wear, such as Under Armour. Try to schedule your outdoor workout closer to noon when the sun is at its peak. Push through the first ten minutes or so of your routine, and your body temperature will quickly rise. Still, there reaches a point where it is just too cold, and for those with certain medical conditions, that point may be at a higher temperature. Consult with your doctor to find out if you are healthy enough to exercise in the cold.
  • Build Your At-Home Gym. Fitness equipment can be found for very low prices at garage sales and on websites like CraigsList. Even just a few weights and resistance bands can be the beginning of your home gym collection. Such items are available at stores like WalMart or Target, or at sporting goods stores. A treadmill can be an excellent investment if you have the room to set it up somewhere in your home, such as the basement.
  • Gift Yourself a Fitness Club Membership. Gym memberships can be expensive, but your health is priceless! There are many different kinds of gym memberships available. Facilities with basic equipment like treadmills and weights are generally less expensive than bigger facilities with indoor pools and fitness classes. However, choose the membership that will serve your needs. If you know that the draw of an indoor pool will get you to swim several times each week, the extra expense will be worth it.
  • Switch Up Your Routine. If you are used to doing a lot of outdoor activities like walking, jogging, or bicycling, consider trying out some different cardiovascular exercises that are more conducive for indoor workouts. You can buy DVDs or stream episodes online of different at-home workouts that involve dancing, marching in place, and other forms of cardio. Bringing your workout inside might also be a great way to incorporate strength and resistance training if that was missing from your outdoor workout.

Consult with your medical professional before beginning any new physical activity. Request an appointment at Freehold Physical Therapy to make sure your body is fit for exercise, and to find out what kinds of exercises will have the greatest impact on your health and fitness.


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Four Easy Exercises to Help Avoid Winter Falls

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Falling snow can be quite picturesque while looking out the window, warm next to the fireplace. But outdoors, the winter weather can be quite treacherous. All throughout the winter months, we move a bit more slowly than usual to avoid the risk of slipping and falling on ice. In addition to taking care, take action to strengthen your body and prevent your risk of falls by exercising. Here are some easy and gentle exercise regimens you can undertake that have been shown to reduce fall risk. Always consult with a medical professional before undertaking any new exercise regimen.

 

  1. This simple but effective exercise routine, when done consistently, can strengthen the legs and promote balance, giving you a firmer footing in slippery conditions. Walk outside at the park or around your neighborhood, or march in place while watching television.11019575_l
  2. If you are lucky enough to live in a community with an indoor pool, take advantage of this balance-promoting exercise. If you don’t know how to swim, consider taking a class at your local fitness center.
  3. Balance Exercises. The Mayo Clinic has recommends a series of whole-body toning exercises that promote balance. Balance and strength are the best defense against falls in winter conditions. If you are new to balance exercises, start off holding onto a chair or countertop to get accustomed to being “off-center.”
  4. Tai-Chi. This slow moving exercise may look easy and frankly, a bit strange. However, when done properly, tai chi is a strenuous, strength-building exercise routine. It has been found to substantially improve balance and coordination. Find a class at your local gym, community center, or join our classes here at Advanced Physical Therapy of Freehold. Call 732-720-2566 to secure your spot.

 

If you have concerns about your stability in winter weather conditions, request an appointment with a physical therapist today to learn what exercises and techniques are best for your body.


Sprains, strains, fractures, oh my! Pain and impaired mobility are serious business, but there is hope. At Advanced Physical Therapy of Freehold, our professional therapists collaborate with physicians to provide care that alleviates pain, restores function, and gets you back in the game faster. We encourage you to learn more about our team — and what we do best.