Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Happy To Have Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on December 3, 2013

I have students who come to Nia that amaze and inspire me.  After Nia class recently I saw someone walk out of class I wish I had talked to before they left.  But they left before I could make it over to them.  But then when I left they were still outside.  It was a new student so I was so happy to be able to say hello and get their name.  I realized later that I didn’t introduce myself, but at least I got their name.  Anyway, we were talking about their participation in Nia and they shared one of the reasons why.  It reminded me that exercise is a great way to help against depression.  There are studies and research that go a long way in proving that exercise does the body good when combating depression.  This is the Holiday season and some people get depressed.  So getting up and moving is a great way to keep the blues at bay.  I was so happy to hear this student being proactive and not letting the circumstances that have been presented get them down.

Exercise increases the production of endorphins, it also DECREASES stress hormones.  So TWO things working at once.  The decrease in stress hormones AND the increase in endorphins.  Endorphins are the chemicals that make you feel good.  So exercise makes you feel good.  Endorphins also act as natural pain killers working to mask pain.  Sometimes pain is a symptom of depression so in addition to just feeling good you are not in pain — two ways you are feeling good.

According to WebMD, one study — way back in 2005 — revealed that “30 minutes of moderately intense exercise five days a week reduced symptoms of depression by nearly half after 12 weeks”.  This study was done at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Science Daily has a little article about how it is now believed that not only is exercise an effective way to treat depression it is also being considered as a way to prevent depression.  Seems to me like that would be a given considering all the benefits one can receive from exercise.  I mean, in addition to all the chemical reactions in the body you just have better stamina and/or mobility and/or strength and/or stability.

There is debate about what type of exercise, but what I am seeing is that it needs to affect the body . . . either get your heart pumping or your muscles changing.  Both is fine too.  It does not have to be extremely strenuous, but there should be a level of intensity that is not attained during your regular activities.

I would go out on a limb and say that most of us know exercise makes us feel better.  I don’t think we need to read the studies that the researchers are writing.  We have done it ourselves and KNOW without a doubt that working out makes us happy.  I think that it helps even more if the workout is something you enjoy.  But even if you are “doing time” on a treadmill it is better than sitting around.

So, again, I am so happily amazed by my students.

Often times the first thing that gets cut from a schedule when it starts to get busy is exercise.  Don’t let that fall off your calendar.

What about you?  Are you getting some exercise in?  What type of exercise makes you happy?

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle Yoga

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Sometimes It Takes More Than a Smile Not to be SAD

Posted by terrepruitt on February 21, 2012

Dance Exercise, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Campbell Nia, Nia CampbellSeasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) per the U.S. National Library of Medicine is “episodes of depression that occur at a certain time of the year, usually during winter.”  Interestingly, “Like other forms of depression, it occurs more often in women than in men.”  According to Wiki “Although experts were initially skeptical, this condition is now recognized as a common disorder”.   I remember when it was declared a “real” disorder.  It really sounds as if this type of disorder can become very serious.  There are general symptoms that are common when someone is depressed; difficulty sleeping, difficulty waking, sleeping too much, not sleeping, over eating, not eating, gaining weight, losing weight, not socializing, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and so on.  It seems as if any depression, if left untreated and it continues, could become serious.  This type of depression is no different. 

I was surprised to see that it is treated somewhat the same way as other depression with both drugs and therapy.  Since it is caused by lack of sunlight I hadn’t thought of using medication or talking about it to help it.  But I guess that if you are depressed and antidepressants make you not depressed they would work no matter what the cause.  And talk therapy helps with all types of depression too.  The Mayo Clinic states the causes for SAD to be possibly your body’s rhythm being “off” due to the lack of light, so your body doesn’t know when to sleep and when to be awake, the serotonin levels being low, this is the chemical in the brain that affects your mood, so low levels could be a cause of depression, then there is melatonin levels which regulates sleep so this hormone can be off balance and affect one’s mood.

With that said, I would think that doing things to help make certain your clock stays regular would help.  Make certain you keep to a strict bedtime and rising time in the morning.  Also eating foods that can increase levels of serotonin might help.  Good foods to eat include bananas, papayas, walnuts, and dates.  (Mmmm, sounds like a recipe for a smoothie!)

ance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, I found the following list on: Muscle-Health-Fitness.com

 1) Free Range Turkey
 2) Flaxseed/ Flaxseed oil
 3) Buckwheat
 4) Wild Fish and Sea food
 5) Whey protein
 6) Bananas
 7) High quality Eggs
 8) Sour Cherries
 9) Free Range Beef
 10) Dark Chocolate

According to Livestrong foods that boost your melatonin are rice, barley, bananas and tomatoes.  Melatonin is also found in tart cherries, sunflower seeds, almonds, and red radishes.  Which again, if low levels of this hormone are thought to play a role in SAD, then increasing the levels would seem to be a logical step.

The thing I see most is light therapy.  But it doesn’t work for everyone.  It needs to be a bright light, one that is like the sun.  I found a variety of lights on Amazon ranging from $60.00 to $600.00.   With this type of therapy you sit in front of the light for a prescribed amount of time per day. 

Another way to fight depression is to exercise.  Exercise is always going to help because it increases your endorphins.  The endorphins create a positive feeling in the body.  Feeling positive helps with depression.  For me dancing is both a great exercise and a great way to get happy.  That is one reason why I love Nia because it really does make me happy.  But, of course there is all types of exercise to help get those endorphins up.  So anything that you will actually do . . . is GREAT!

I think SAD is much more widely accepted as an actual disorder than it once was.  There are so many things and ways that we are educated and allowed to see how people live and feel.  We probably all know at least one person living in an area where they might be susceptible to SAD.  Even if you don’t feel you have felt depression because of the weather, maybe you have things you do that make you happy and get you out of a funk.  What are they?  What do you do that help make you happy?  Share with us here and maybe they can help someone who is SAD.

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