Brighten your mood with some light exercise
Spring seems to be taking its time to arrive properly with unsettled weather set to continue and even threats of snow at Easter. If you're still struggling to shake off the winter blues, we suggest you keep using your Lumie lights for as long as you need to and make the most of any bright days by spending some time outdoors.
Physical exercise has long been recognised as a way to improve mood and reduce the impact of depressive symptoms (our SAD forum members say it's sometimes an effort but it's worth it!) so combine the two and get outside for extra get-up-and-go.
Or, if it's still chilly where you are and you're not ready to jump into your lycra just yet, how about bringing the brightness indoors and doing your workout in front of your Lumie light?
Multiple scientific studies (see below) have found that exercising with bright lights improved mood - much more so than just exercise or light on its own - and together they're more effective at reducing other depressive symptoms e.g. carb cravings, prolonged sleep and weight gain.
In January, we reported that Leeds University was using Lumie light therapy to keep students focused and positive in the run up to exams; as well as a Light Lounge for studying we supplied several Brazil lightboxes for yoga classes.
Coach Joe Beer works with professional endurance athletes and is a light therapy fan: "I use a Lumie Bodyclock to wake up naturally and a Lumie light box to improve office light quality and improve indoor training sessions. Light therapy is now part of my SMART training list for athletes”.
A light workout
There are lots of indoor workouts you can do with your light positioned nearby; if you have space or equipment try them at home. You might get some curious looks when you're working out with your light at the gym, but just explain that it aids sports performance and you're looking for marginal gains as part of an intense training programme.
- Yoga, pilates and other matwork is ideal.
- Machine or free weight exercises.
- Stationary cycling or spinning.
- On a treadmill, cross trainer, rowing machine.
- Big lightboxes like Brazil and Arabica are best because their wider pool of light means you can move about a bit and still get the benefit.
- Angle Brightspark and Desklamp so they're shining on you whilst you work out.
- Use your light at its brightest setting.
- Get together with some friends and set up several lightboxes for a session that will leave you glowing with health.
And remember, the clocks go forward at the end of the month so we can look forward to spending brighter afternoons and evenings outdoors.
Bright-light exposure combined with physical exercise elevates mood
- Randomized trial of the efficacy of bright-light exposure and aerobic exercise on depressive symptoms and serum lipids
- Randomized trial of physical exercise alone or combined with bright light on mood and health-related quality of life
- Drop-out and mood improvement: a randomised controlled trial with light exposure and physical exercise